Microsoft Could Hold Breakout Press Events for Windows, Xbox
According to The Verge, Microsoft could plan separate news events that could help the company focus better on what it has to offer Xbox and Windows consumers. The events are offered as a complement to the all-virtual Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Build developer conferences, where Microsoft’s consumer products are typically only discussed in broader, separate breakout sessions or keynotes.
While the pandemic has already forced the company to stop holding in-person events, it is believed that these separate digital news events could better highlight the changes across Microsoft’s product lines this year. Apple has done this for a long time with special events for MacBook, iPhone, and iPad launches.
We see the first of these new Microsoft events this week on February 4th, when Microsoft plans to discuss changes to its Microsoft 365 service to “improve the employee experience.”
See @SatyaNadella and @Jared_Spataro discuss ways to transform the employee experience. Save the date for our digital event. #EmployeeExperience https://t.co/LV5KjcwBPF pic.twitter.com/uHHbQlFdcX
– Microsoft 365 (@ Microsoft365) January 28, 2021
While this is still a rumor, a Windows message event makes sense. It is believed that Microsoft is working on a “Sun Valley” update for Windows 10 to redesign the operating system. A separate news event would better spotlight these changes and give Microsoft a bigger stage for discussing Windows. It is usually reserved for discussion during breakout sessions and major keynotes at the build developer conference.
At such a Windows event, Windows 10X will likely also be discussed. This is the new, lightweight variant of Windows 10 that only applies to new devices. An event focused on Windows 10X could help Microsoft adopt Chromebooks and further strengthen Microsoft’s presence in the education and business market.
As for Xbox, this news event could further explain Microsoft’s plans for Xbox Game Pass as well as Xbox Cloud Gaming. It has been rumored that Xbox cloud gaming could move beyond Android phones and hit Windows 10 and iOS devices via web browser in early 2021.
Since Google has closed its own Stadia game development studios and Amazon is testing its own Luna cloud gaming service in beta, such an event gives Microsoft the opportunity to present its own alternatives.
The last time Microsoft held a personal event for the media was in October 2019. The company then announced the Surface Pro 7, Surface Duo, and Surface Laptop 3. All hardware events for Microsoft since then have been virtual. but closed to the press only, with footage later posted on the company’s YouTube channel.
However, the company’s Build 2020 conference has been redesigned as a digital experience open to all. Ignite 2021, the company’s annual event for developers and IT professionals, has been confirmed as two free global virtual events. One already happened in September last year and another will come in March 2021.
With the pandemic affecting technical events like CES 2021 and beyond, it will be interesting to see how these new approaches to news events will affect Microsoft’s visions and image among fans and consumers.