Microsoft tries really hard not to say the next Xbox could be delayed by coronavirus
But its language has changed from 'clear a space under the tree' to 'our goal remains late 2020 delivery'
Microsoft appears to be softening up gamers for the prospect of no new Xbox for Christmas 2020.
A new post from corporate veep for gaming and marketing Jerret West says: "Our goal remains to launch Xbox Series X and Halo Infinite this Holiday."
Note the "remains" because Microsoft has previously been very firm about a late 2020 launch to catch festive shopping sprees.
West didn't explicitly say the new Xbox Series X will not land this year, but did write: "2020 has become the year that challenged us all and tested every commitment we've made in the face of COVID-19," adding: "We also want to be transparent in letting our players know what we are doing and what we are thinking during such a crucial time."
The delay of a gaming console is, of course, a trivial concern set beside the human tragedy that is the coronavirus pandemic. But it will also pile on the economic pain: AMD has pencilled in a surge of revenue derived from CPU sales into next-gen consoles. Retailers and software developers generally enjoy the debut of a new console too! And if the likes of cash-rich, world-girdling Microsoft is worried about supply chains, what prospects do lesser companies have?
For now, Microsoft is plowing ahead with teasers galore of the Xbox Series X's new features, software and capabilities, including the new merging of Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass, "enabling you and your friends to play together in more ways".
West's post also celebrated the role multiplayer gaming has played in connecting and entertaining people while they stay at home. ®