As in-person events are being called off due to the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft is setting a new standard for its events. A statement released today says Microsoft will transition all external and internal events to a "digital-first experience" through July 2021.
This news comes via Ginny Caughey on Twitter. The move will include the MVP & RD Summit that was set for March 28 through April 2, 2021.
The statement doesn't address any other shows by name, but other events could feasibly be up in the air or moving to digital-first now, including any Xbox Series X launch event. Microsoft has been hosting digital broadcasts like Inside Xbox—there's another one set for today, in fact—but Xbox has also classically held events like last year's X019.
Microsoft's decision also raises questions about upcoming shows, like Gamescom 2020, which is already planning for a larger digital presence in the face of an uncertain physical presence. Other shows, like E3 2020, have called off a physical presence this year in wake of coronavirus concerns, while GDC is still hoping to host a three-day event this summer.
Speaking to Eurogamer, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed it was adjusting its event calendar and strategy, embracing a digital-first stance. Eurogamer also says it understands that Microsoft's guidelines apply specifically to events the company organizes, so trade show attendance would be on a case-by-case basis.
We reached out to Microsoft for clarification on how this affects its upcoming show presence, but did not receive comment by publication. We'll update if they respond.