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When will PS5 and Xbox Series X launch? We ask the analysts

(Image credit: Future)

When will PS5 and Xbox Series X launch? It's the question everyone has been asking for quite some time, and although Microsoft and Sony have both announced a Holiday 2020 launch window, we still want an exact date. What can we say, we're impatient.  

While this window does give us a vague release date at the tail end of the year, we still don't know for definite when we can expect to see either console officially hit the shelves. That's why we have reached out to some games and market analysts, to see when they expect Xbox Series X and PS5 may officially release, and what factors may come into play when it comes to what could potentially delay or affect the release of either next-gen console. 

Why November is likely

In an email to Piers Harding-Rolls, who was head of games research and lead AR/AR analyst at IHS Markit in February (he is now a research director at Ampere Analysis), he told us that he was expecting "both models in November 2020". 

The November release date is something each analyst we spoke to appears to agree on, with Dr. Serkan Toto of Kantan Games K.K., also predicting a November release. Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, also said "I expect both in November 2020". 

As competing console brands, both Xbox and PlayStation have had a history of launch at similar times in the year, so it's not so outlandish to assume that both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be released in the same month. Harding-Rolls looks back to Sony and Microsoft's previous launch in 2013, saying: "Similar to the end of 2013 when Xbox One and PS4 launched together, neither company wants to give one another a head start." 

"Sales momentum is crucial in the console sector, especially during the first couple of sales years. This will be 7 years after the current-gen launched, which is a normal timescale for the release of a new generation. Last time they both launched in the same period of the year and they will be happy to do that again before the holiday sales season." 

Naturally, there's also the announcement date of the release date to consider. Harding-Rolls told us over email it will be any time between now and E3, which would fall into the expected time frame. On the other hand, Dr. Toto believes that the announcement could be imminent, expecting both to announce the release dates this month. 

Coronavirus effect?

Of course, there is always the chance that something may hinder or alter the launch date. Console production could well be affected or slowed down because of outside factors. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has been the cause of much discussion when it comes to the launch of new consoles, but Kantan Games' analyst Dr. Toto believes we'll still see the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X at the same time, even with precautions taken surrounding the virus: "As the virus situation stands right now, I still expect both consoles to launch at the end of the year. A short delay or limited supply at launch is possible, but it currently doesn't seem the schedule is derailed significantly." 

Dr. Toto goes on to say that while the schedule doesn't seem to affect currently, there's still always a chance the virus could make Microsoft and Sony "rethink" the launch date if the situation worsens. "I think only a deterioration of the virus situation would make Sony and Microsoft rethink. At this point, launch software, marketing and other factors are already decided." 

Meanwhile, Pachter also remains bullish that the Coronavirus won't significantly delay the production of consoles. He told us over email "perversely, the situation in China is actually better than it was a few weeks ago. Wuhan is getting back to normal, and the Chinese government’s restrictions on social contact seem to have sharply limited the spread of disease there.  I expect that business will be back to normal by May or June, well ahead of when Sony and Microsoft need manufacturing to commence in order to ensure a November launch date."

If these predictions are accurate, that Holiday 2020 release window could very soon become a November 2020 release date.