Microsoft witnessed a massive surge in Xbox Live usage during the lockdown periods that were enforced worldwide to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking with BBC in a recent interview, Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox brand, revealed that Xbox Live has helped connect millions of gamers out there during the pandemic. Since the self-quarantine began, “over 270 million new friend relationships” have been created (via Sirus Gaming) on the digital platform.
In fact, during this lockdown time, we’ve had over 270 million new friend relationships created on Xbox Live. So not only are people staying connected with their existing friends, they’re finding new friends online as they’re playing together, which is really great.
While commenting on how COVID-19 has impacted developers, Spencer stated that certain functions of a development process can always be handled remotely. However, there are other functions that still require developers to be together in a single room. Spencer further added that Microsoft developers are finding new ways to work together and are still launching games.
There’s certain parts of the creative process in building a game that can happen remotely. But there are certain functions in game production that still require people to be closer together.
Today’s big triple-A blockbuster games involve hundreds of people coming together to build games. And we have seen a pause in some things, like motion-capture of actors and some symphonic work involving musicians, where people need to be close. But we’re still launching games. The teams continue to work and find new ways to work together.
COVID-19 threw a wrench into every industry and economy in the world. There were earlier concerns that Microsoft may have to delay the launch of Xbox Series X. Spencer washed those concerns away by confirming that Microsoft’s receiving regular reports from “factories and stuff” to indicate everything is going according to plan. There will be no delays. Xbox Series X will launch worldwide during the holiday season of 2020, as will PlayStation 5 from Sony.