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All Microsoft events will be "digital-first" until August 2021

Updated: COVID-19 concerns drive company to scrap physical events for over a year

Microsoft has announced all its internal and external events will shift to a digital model until next summer in order to prevent spreading coronavirus.

The company already confirmed to ZDNet last week that all 2020 events would be digital only, and now an internal email suggests this will last until the end of July 2021.

The email was shared by Microsoft MVP and community contributor Ginny Caughey via Twitter.

It reads: "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. 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."

It's not clear how this will affect Xbox events, although the platform holder has already been experimenting with delivering news via its Inside Xbox broadcasts, with another due to air later today.

Update, February 12, 2020: Microsoft told GamesIndustry.biz in a statement: “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.”

It didn't offer any clarity on its physical plans for events such as Gamescom, GDC and E3.

It's potentially a blow to E3 2021, which the organisers recently confirmed will return to Los Angeles next June.

This year's show was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, although Microsoft is among the publishers that has promised to run a digital showcase in its absence.

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