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Microsoft confirms it is closing all its physical retail stores globally

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has confirmed it is closing all of its Microsoft Store locations across the world.

An anonymous source told The Verge that the plan to shutter its stores was underway ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the global impact of the virus "accelerated" the closures. 

Four of its premium locations will be retained – New York City (Fifth Ave), London (Oxford Circus), Sydney (Westfield Sydney), and the Redmond campus location – to be reconfigured as "experience centres". 

The company reports that there will be no layoffs as a result of the decision, whilst Microsoft Store VP David Porter insisted via a LinkedIn post that its “commitment to growing and developing careers from this diverse talent pool is stronger than ever".

The company will reportedly focus on digital retail, stating Microsoft.com and the Xbox and Windows storefronts reach “up to 1.2 billion monthly customers in 190 markets".

That's not the only big change Microsoft has recently made, of course. Just last week the company announced it was shuttering its streaming platform Mixer in a merger with Facebook Gaming. 

At the time of the announcement, Microsoft confirmed Mixer won't be fully shut down until July 22, 2020, but did confirm that the transition was already underway.

"It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now," Xbox boss Phil Spencer said at the time, "so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform." 

Check out our big guide to upcoming Xbox Series X games.

Part of GR+'s news crew, Vikki is a (jumpy) survival horror survivalist with a penchant for sci-fi, shooters, thrillers, and a strong cup of Yorkshire tea. A committed Guardian and Spartan, she's terrible at FPSs, but loves 'em all the same.