Phil Spencer Fears That Gaming Will Be Most Affected by COVID-19 in 2021 and Not 2020

Xbox Head Phil Spencer has revealed that he believes that the video game industry will feel the impact of COVID-19 the most in 2021 rather than this year.

Speaking to Business Insider, Spencer stated this is because most of the games planned for the latter half of 2020 will be nearly finished and won’t be subject to the same production and development problems than games aiming to release a year from now.

One of the biggest problems facing game developers right now is with regards to motion capture, which Spencer says has basically stopped. Equally, voice actors and composers are also unable to complete their work for upcoming games.

“Through the summer, early fall? I feel pretty good about those games,” Microsoft’s Xbox leader Phil Spencer told Business Insider. “Games that we’re targeting a year from now or beyond? There’ll be some impact, but they’ll be able to react.”

“Mocap is just something that’s basically stopped. We’re not going into mocap studios,” Spencer added. “If you had all your animation captured and you’re doing touch up in more individual art production and in areas like textures and other things, you’re in a better position.”

Unfortunately, it means that annual releases, such as FIFA, may be most likely to face these issues that may impact their release. EA is yet to officially announce FIFA 21, so it remains to be seen if the release will be delayed or not.

“It’s really in those [types of] games that we’re trying to finally get all their asset base together in terms of art production that they might have the biggest impact,” Spencer said.

However, despite the issues and delays facing the gaming industry, Spencer is optimistic about the future of the industry, believing that while there will be some impact, developers and publishers will be able to react.

“I’m pretty confident in the industry’s ability to continue a steady flow of games coming out. There’s just a lot of games in production across the industry right now, and I think we’re going to be — as an industry — we’re going to be fine,” Spencer concluded.

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