Update: In a statement to Eurogamer, Microsoft has acknowledged it is “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.” Appearances at trade shows may be decided on a case-by-case basis. The original story follows.
Many companies have already moved to a digital-only strategy for the next several months as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, but it seems the caution may last well into next year. Microsoft has reportedly shifted all of its event planning to digital through July 2021.
The Verge reports that an email to Microsoft MVPs explains the decision.
“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.”
The report states that this shift includes Microsoft Ignite in September, along with Microsoft’s presence at Computex 2020 and CES 2021. It would also likely impact next year’s Build event in the spring. It’s unclear if this would affect Microsoft’s participation in E3 2021, which is still planned as a physical event following the cancellation of E3 2020. GameSpot has reached out to Microsoft for clarification.
Given the cancellation of E3, many companies like Microsoft are looking to host digital events this year. Exact timing for these events hasn’t been announced, though, so they may not be condensed into a single week like E3. Meanwhile, transitioning to remote work created logistical challenges that have forced some companies like Bethesda to call off plans to even have a digital showcase.
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