There’s no denying that COVID-19 has had a monumental effect on the gaming industry. Aside from the obvious negative side effects of the virus itself, its widespread nature has led to a near standstill when it comes to future gaming events and conferences. Though it is unknown when it may once again be safe for companies to host large gatherings, Microsoft appears to be taking extra precautions, announcing that all future internal and external events through July 2021 will be hosted digitally.
First reported by ZDNet, and later confirmed by Microsoft themselves, the console manufacturer stated that “In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, Microsoft has been closely monitoring the developing global situation and re-assessing the overall company-wide in-person event strategy. As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021. This will include future MVP & RD Summit which is currently scheduled for March 28-April 2, 2021. We will continue to evaluate the situation and look forward to connecting in person when the situation allows.”
What this means is that events such as XO20 (Xbox’s annual fan experience expo) will take place online. It’ll also be interesting to see how this will affect the marketing and launch of the Xbox Series X. Though many details on the next generation console have already been revealed, the company has yet to host its big blowout event. It now looks like whatever Microsoft had planned for the console will be instead altered to fit an online experience.
Other events in which Microsoft often have a large presence includes The Game Awards and, of course, E3. How Microsoft chooses to approach these two events will certainly be interesting – especially as the company has relied so heavily on its physical presence in the past (unlike PlayStation and Nintendo, which have both established online digital events). 2020 is certainly an odd year for the games industry.
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KitGuru says: What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to go all-digital? Is it a smart move or are they being overly cautious? How would you like to see the company tackle the Xbox Series X’s big blowout event? Let us know down below.