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Microsoft clarifies report all its events will be digital until July 2021

Gamescom 2020 attendance still possible, if event goes ahead.

Microsoft has clarified a statement which suggested all of its events - "external and internal" - would transition to a "digital-first experience" until July 2021.

The decision suggested Microsoft was quietly pulling back from physical activities at events this summer - including its usual big showing at Gamescom (still, at present, set to take place in late August, but which looks increasingly likely to go digital-only anyway).

It also suggested Microsoft would not hold any kind of physical launch event for Xbox Series X, due this Christmas - a date Microsoft has recently recommitted to, with some caveats.

And looking to 2021, the statement even cast doubt on Microsoft attending next year's E3 - whose dates have already been announced for mid-June 2021.

But the statement did not come directly from Microsoft itself. Rather, it emerged via a Twitter user who posted what appeared to be guidance on attending Microsoft's March 2021 MVP Summit, a now-cancelled tech event held annually at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

And, crucially, it had several caveats - such as that the company would still "continue to evaluate the situation" to connect "in person when the situation allows".

"In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, we are adjusting our event calendar and strategy," a Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer this afternoon.

"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."

Eurogamer understands Microsoft's guidelines relate specifically to the events it organises - and the company's attendance at trade shows will be made on a case-by-case basis. So, for example, should Gamescom 2020 go ahead and should Microsoft deem it appropriate to attend, it could still do so.

But this does seem to rule out a big physical launch bash for Xbox Series X - and the return of the company's traditional fan event, last year named X019, in its usual format.

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Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon. Tom joined Eurogamer in 2010 following a stint running a Nintendo fansite, and still owns two GameCubes. He also still plays Pokémon Go every day.