Microsoft has confirmed that all its events will be “digital-first” for the next year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s Ignite 2020 event planned for September, and MVP & RD Summit in March 2021 will now be held as digital events, the company has confirmed.
In a statement sent to MVP attendees, Microsoft said it was adopting “a digital-first” approach for all external and internal events until July 2021. Microsoft’s fiscal year 2021 runs from July 2020 to June 2021.
Xbox has already confirmed it will hold a digital event in place of the cancelled E3 2020, but Microsoft’s latest statement suggests the platform holder could miss the 2021 show too, if it goes ahead in the traditional June slot.
VGC has reached out to Xbox for comment.
UPDATE: A Microsoft spokesperson told VGC:
“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.”
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES: “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 company said in a statement.
“As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021.
“This will include the future MVP & RD Summit which is currently scheduled for March 28 – April 2, 2021. We will continue to evaluate the situation and look forward to connecting in person when the situation allows.”
A Microsoft spokesperson told ZDnet in relation to the first half of 2021, “we will continue to evaluate the event landscape, but that is what we have to share at this time.”
Xbox is continuing with its Inside Xbox digital initiative this month, with a new presentation set to be streamed on Tuesday.
The platform holder recently issued a statement regarding the impact the coronavirus pandemic was having on its first-party game development.
According to Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty, who oversees all first-party games output for the platform holder, each of the company’s in-house development teams is facing its own individual challenges.
The Minecraft Dungeons and Wasteland 3 release dates have been delayed. The titles are developed by Xbox Game Studios developers Mojang and inXile Entertainment respectively, although they’re due for release on multiple platforms.
And 343 Industries said that while Halo Infinite development was “tracking well”, it needed “to be mindful of our current limitations and understand that the coronavirus situation may get worse before it gets better”.