A recent email to Microsoft MVPs suggests that all of the companies events will be going online for the foreseeable future, and that could include any plans for E3 2020, Gamescom 2020, X020, and potentially E3 2021.
“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,” the email states. “As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021.”
While we already knew that a number of game publishers have committed to digital events in the wake of the E3 2020 cancellation – the Xbox division included – this is our first indication that future plans have been scuppered too.
Microsoft has, in the past, used Gamescom as an opportunity to host press conferences to give new games, initiatives, and consoles some time in the spotlight ahead of European launches. Gamescom 2020 is currently set to run August 25 – August 29, so this could have a potential impact on Xbox's plans for it.
This new directive would also put XO – the annual celebration of all things Xbox for fans – at risk; XO19 kicked off live in London on November 14 and ran on Mixer through until November 16. It was expected that X020 would present a major opportunity for fans to get their hands on the Xbox Series X and launch games like Halo Infinite ahead of its release Holiday 2020, but it now seems as if that event will be forced to go digital-only too.
When reached for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson told GamesRadar+ that "In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, we are adjusting our event calendar and strategy. For the remainder of 2020 we are embracing the opportunity to experiment with new platforms to provide our partners, customers and developers the highest quality, digital-first experiences."
In their original message to MVPs, Microsoft states that this directive will run into July 2021, so that could see E3 2021 being a digital-only affair for Xbox too, with the annual conference typically running in early June. On the tech side, Microsoft's plans for Microsoft Ignite, Computex 2020, CES 2021, and its Build 2021 event have also been impacted.
We will be sure to bring you official word when we find out what Xbox Game Studios' plans are for Gamescom 2020, XO20, and E3 2021.
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