Will the coronavirus delay the PS5? As COVID-19 tears its way across the globe the consequences can be seen in its human victims, a tumbling stock market, and the cancellation of events that draw large crowds. While the main concern will always be the health and welfare of people around the world, the effects of the virus could have a knock-on effect on the launch of the PS5 far into the future. In a deep dive into the machine's technical capabilities today, chief architect Mark Cerny even mentioned that PS5 game betas would be set to arrive around the time of "launch at year-end."
Making a console like the PS5 is not a simple process, requiring the work of hundreds of people manufacturing hundreds of parts from factories across the globe. A delay or closure at any one of the links in that chain could mean that when the new consoles go on sale in time for the holidays, there are fewer units than usual.
PS5 reveal delay
We can only speculate, but the issues caused by COVID-19 has the potential to be a much bigger problem for Sony and the launch of the PlayStation 5. While Microsoft has been drip-feeding us information about the Xbox Series X since E3 2019, Sony has been slower to reveal anything about the PS5, we don't even know what it looks like. Rumors circulated about a reveal event in February, but here we are in March with nary a tweet about the new Sony console. Sony has been particularly careful about protecting its staff from potential virus hotspots, pulling out of PAX East and GDC. Could the same caution about the virus be delaying the reveal event for the PS5? Only time will tell.
Coronavirus delays and cancellations
We're already beginning to see the outbreak affect games studios. Developers like Bungie, Valve, and Microsoft in Seattle have instructed their staff to work from home, and events like GDC and SXSW have been canceled, with the future of even the titanic E3 in doubt.
Production of the Nintendo Switch is already showing the strain, with pre-orders for the Animal Crossing-themed Switch and its matching carrying case delayed in Japan.
Lower profile consoles, like Konami's TurboGrafx-16 Mini have been delayed indefinitely. "The manufacturing and shipping facilities in China have encountered an unavoidable suspension due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak," the company said in a statement. "As a result, the delivery of all PC Engine Core Grafx mini products, which was originally scheduled for March 19th, 2020, will be delayed until further notice."
The Oculus Quest VR headset has been affected - with Facebook citing "additional impact to our hardware production" - and Valve's Index VR headset similarly affected. "The global coronavirus health crisis has impacted our production schedules so we will have far fewer units for sale during the coming months compared to the volumes we originally planned," Valve said. This is a particular blow for Valve, which will release new VR title Half Life: Alyx on March 23.
We'll keep this page updated with any news on delays or supply issues for the PS5. Stay safe out there, and wash your hands.