In a sweeping move, Microsoft has declared it will move to online only events until at least July 2021.
It's a move that's been gradually building over the past few days. Last week, Microsoft announced that its major upcoming internal and external events over the next 12 months would be online-only. Now, that time has been extended to July 2021.
Across that time period includes events like Ignite 2020, Ignite The Tour, the MVP Summit 2021, Build 2021, and the likes of appearances at any other conferences such as Gamescom.
Previously, events including Build 2020, MVP Summit and Inspire 2020 have all been moved online anyhow but it's quite the statement to move everything for the next 15 months or so to online only.
Of course, if somehow you'd forgotten for all of 30 seconds, this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has made travel, mass gatherings, and everything else exceptionally difficult for everyone.
The statement from Microsoft went into a little more detail with this, explaining, '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.'
Microsoft events are often very popular, attracting thousands of attendees from around the world, so it's a wise move for the safety-conscious business. It also gives the company the ideal opportunity to promote its Microsoft Teams app which has already grown in strength when it comes to hosting meetings or group calls. Microsoft Live is also available for public addresses or speeches.
The switch to online-only events at least means the events will still happen. In comparison, ESA has cancelled E3 2020 all together. Originally intending to be an online-only event in June 2020, E3 isn't happening at all now with ESA simply announcing that the next E3 will be in 2021.
Microsoft has done a lot in recent times to help with COVID-19 efforts including encouraging Xbox One users to help with relief efforts via donations of their reward points. More crucially though, Bill Gates has vowed to spend billions on developing a vaccine for the virus. This appears to be the latest in news from the firm to demonstrate how seriously it's taking this threat.
February 26 2021 | 22:15