The report, which cites “development and retail sources,” notes that Sony has booked a significant amount of marketing spending that is scheduled to start on Nov. 13. The current expectation is that the PS5 will launch sometime within a week of that date.
As for the Xbox Series X, the report notes that the same sources expect Microsoft to attempt to beat the PS5 to market by releasing its next-gen Xbox consoles (which, as it was noted elsewhere, could still include the Xbox Series S), during the first week of November. But the report also suggests that the launch of the next-gen Xbox could be pushed to the second week of November. Regardless, the idea would be to beat the PS5 to the market and avoid launching near or on Black Friday weekend.
November is certainly an enticing month for both companies to drop their next-gen consoles. There are several major games releasing around that time, including Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, all of which could help both Sony and Microsoft bolster their launch lineups.
If the PS5 and XSX release in November, then analysts say that they will both need to adjust their typical launch strategies in order to account for the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“While production is ramping up and component scarcity is less of an issue than before, we believe that logistics issues will be a barrier for both platform holders to overcome this holiday, with the impact from Covid-19 leading to long shipping times and shortages on store shelves during the launch period,” said Daniel Ahmad, senior analyst at Niko Partners, in a statement to VGC. “We expect Sony and Microsoft to utilize air shipments, which will cost more, to meet demand this year.”
Gamer Network’s head of games B2B, Christopher Dring, also explained that part of the reason it’s taking so long for Microsoft and Sony to confirm the release dates and launch prices of their next-gen consoles is that both of them want to be absolutely sure of what they’re capable of delivering. Just this week, Sony sent emails to select PlayStation users offering them the chance to reserve a PlayStation 5 pre-order. At the moment, this invite seems to only be open to PlayStation users and not the general public. That would suggest that PS5 quantities will be extremely limited.
As for the Xbox Series X, we haven’t heard much about that console’s pre-order program beyond some placeholder pages on popular retail websites. It makes sense that Microsoft intends to launch its next console ahead of Sony given that it has at least confirmed a launch window for the Xbox Series X, but the recent delay of Halo Infinite has certainly complicated what will already be a tough 2020 launch.