Market analyst tells us expected Xbox Series X price and Coronavirus delays

By Sean Carey,
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on industries across the world, including the games industry. Developers and publishers are working from home, events are being cancelled, and some games are facing the threat of delay. 2020 is a significant year with two new consoles due to launch during the holiday period, and several analysts and notable figures have suggested that the Xbox Series X and PS5 could both be delayed in the wake of the crisis.

Xbox Series X

We spoke to Steven Bailey, a senior analyst who specialises in games for the market research company, Omdia. Bailey believes that both PlayStation and Xbox will be wanting to avoid a delay due to the substantial financial costs involved in releasing a new console. "Launching a console costs billions, and planning can span years. The logistics involved are boggling, once you start to draw back the curtain even slightly around topics like marketing spend. They chose 2020 rather than 2021 for a reason: Because they know they need to get a new cycle of consoles into motion."

Although both companies will be trying to avoid delays and will continue to strive for that holiday release window, we could potentially see a shortage of consoles and delays in smaller markets. "They will want to hold the line on their launch window for key territories but expect supply constraints. That might then become 2021 delays for smaller markets." Bailey also believes that if there were plans to delay the consoles, there would be no benefit in announcing those delays just yet.

Xbox Series X

Consoles are generally loss-leaders early on in a generation. Reports suggest that the Xbox One when it first launched cost around $471 to manufacture and was being sold at $499. When factoring in other expenses, it's unlikely that Microsoft turned a profit off of these first consoles. It was also estimated that Sony took huge losses on its PS3 when it came to market. Both the 20GB and 60B models of the console were reported to cost over $800 to manufacture and sold for $499 and $599 respectively. Although we don't yet know the price of the Series X or the PS5, Bailey believes that we could be looking around a similar figure for both. "Prices for both machines were obviously already lurking in the $400 – $500 region, and $500, in particular, is such a major psychological hurdle that I think we'll see manufacturers absorb any extra costs rather than risk crossing that. Getting people onto the platform matters more than making them spend in the short-term. It's their long-term custom that makes money."

Xbox Series X

As we have seen in the past with the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X, Bailey says that it's likely we'll see a range of consoles at different price points, "Consoles are often available as part of a range, so if the $500 edition is out of your reach, there will likely be a simple/slimmer SKU on offer. Streaming and digital-only variants mean we can expect much bigger gaps between the most and least expensive versions in the coming hardware gen, although not immediately." There have been rumours swirling around the internet that Project Lockhart is another next-gen console that will launch alongside the Series X; however, it will be a digital-only machine and come in at a lower price.

The full impact of COVID-19 is yet to be seen. Sony has recently stated that the PS5 will not suffer a delay because of the virus and Microsoft is still targeting the holiday window for its Xbox Series X. Although precautions have started to ease in China — where a lot of electronic components are made — the rest of the world is currently gripped by the pandemic. Hopefully, we'll hear more on release dates and pricing for both consoles in the near future.
Sean Carey
Written by Sean Carey
Hey everyone! I'm Sean. I have been writing gaming content for various outlets over the past few years while studying a degree in Journalism. I grew up on everything PlayStation — mainly Metal Gear Solid, with a brief foray into the world of Xbox. Nowadays, you'll find me mainly playing multiplayer PC games, but with the recent addition of the Xbox Game Pass for PC, I'm looking forward to improving my TA Score.