The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has thrown the holiday 2020 goal for next-gen consoles into question. Sony, however, reaffirmed its window, saying development is still progressing towards a PlayStation 5 launch in the holiday season of 2020.
In a statement from its most recent financial earnings, Sony addressed the impact of COVID-19 on various facets of its games and network divisions:
"Regarding the launch of PlayStation 5, although factors such as employees working from home and restrictions on international travel have presented some challenges in regards to part of the testing process and the qualification of production lines, development is progressing with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season."
According to Sony's statement, no major problems have arisen in the game software development pipeline for first-party studios or its partners' studios. Although The Last of Us Part 2 was delayed last month, alongside Iron Man VR, Sony Interactive Entertainment attributed the delay to logistical issues rather than developmental ones at the time.
Xbox's Phil Spencer has also reaffirmed the Series X's holiday 2020 launch despite the ongoing global health crisis. Despite the confidence from both console makers, major publishers like Ubisoft have said they're prepared to shift dates if next-gen consoles miss their launch window. Still, it's good to see some confidence in the next generation launching within its previously scheduled timeframe.
Sony did note that PS4 production was slightly impacted by COVID-19, though there have been other side effects of the ongoing pandemic. Sales of downloaded games, as well as PlayStation Plus and Now subscriptions, have "significantly increased." With people trying to stay home, it looks like digital venues have continued to grow in popularity.