The company’s Series X landing site momentarily stated that the next-gen console would be “Coming Thanksgiving 2020,” or November 26. Before this, the company had only announced that the Series X would launch during the 2020 holiday season. This release date was quickly redacted by Microsoft executives.
Minutes after Game Awards producer Geoff Keighley and games industry analyst Daniel Ahmad tweeted screenshots of the release date, Microsoft’s director of programming Larry Hryb quickly acted to shut down chatter.
“An Xbox product page in some regions inaccurately listed the launch date for Xbox Series X as Thanksgiving 2020,” he tweeted. “We are committed to launching Holiday 2020.”
As it stands, it’s unclear if this was a company snafu or if Microsoft is attempting to backtrack on an accidental slip-up. November 26 does fall under the “holiday 2020” season, so a release on that day is still possible. Previous Xbox releases have occurred around that time as well. It would be the prime window to take full advantage of the holiday shopping season.
The Xbox One launched in North America on November 22, 2013. The Xbox 360 dropped on the same date in 2005, and the original Xbox launched on November 15, 2001. Microsoft has set a clear precedent of November console launches, but this generation could be different because of the widespread economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hryb’s tweet was the latest confirmation the company is sticking to that previously announced release date window, even though multiple analysts and supply chain reports have suggested that delays in Series X production are likely.
It’s also possible the Series X’s original release date was November 26, but that has now been impacted by worldwide health concerns. If that’s the case, the delay could only be a few weeks long, since Hryb doubled down on the company’s original release date window. We likely won't know a firm Series X release date until later in the year.
The Inverse Analysis
It made sense for Microsoft to announce a release date in response to Sony’s informative, but stale PS5 spec announcement on Wednesday. The Xbox Series X has been one step ahead of the PS5 during literally every stage of this generation’s budding console war thus far. This was Microsoft’s first big misstep leading up to the Series X’s launch.
Microsoft has been far more transparent about the Series X, revealing its design as early as December 2019 and even beating Sony to a full specs reveal. We've been expecting to hear the Series X release date before PS5's. But in a strange turn of events, an opportunity for Microsoft to reassert its early dominance turned into clumsy PR. With rumors about a delay swirling, it would be best for the company to continue its streak of transparency to win over gamers.