Microsoft has informed event planners and third-party developers that it is planning a one hour-long press event for Gamescom this August, something Microsoft has never done before
“We’re excited to be back at Gamescom this year but we’re not announcing any further details on our plans at this time. Please stay tuned for more details!” Those were the words of a Microsoft spokesperson, and while that isn’t much to go on from that, CVG has reported that several developers may already be informed about Microsoft’s upcoming Gamescom press event, and that we will find out about it shortly.
While it is unclear if a date, or even a schedule of the event has been decided upon, the one hour press conference will be something out of the ordinary: Microsoft has never held such an event at Gamescom before. It is a clear indication that Microsoft is trying to strengthen its European market. The announcement follows a series of setbacks and surprising decisions following the disastrous Xbox One reveal at E3. It was little over two weeks ago that Microsoft did a 180 on its supposedly unchangeable DRM and online-requirement policies for the Xbox One, and just last Monday, Xbox chief Don Mattrick left the company to work for Zynga.
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Perhaps the press conference then, is Microsoft’s last and best chance of saving the Xbox One: Europe is a major battleground for the console war, and both Microsoft and Sony have labeled it as a heightened priority zone. Microsoft will do well on its home turf in America, and the same can be said for Sony in Japan. Who wins Europe is the big question, and Microsoft will likely be using the press event to re-adress some of the key appeals of their new console and get Europeans excited about it.
To help Microsoft win Europe, the Xbox team secured Phil Harrison back in 2012 as vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business. Harrison “will not only lead the Microsoft Studios European organisation directly, but will also influence the broader performance of IEB’s European business through strategic partnerships and by bringing culturally relevant entertainment experiences to Microsoft platforms, now and in the future,” said Microsoft at the time. Sony meanwhile, is approaching Europe aggressively, stating earlier this year that they will do whatever it takes to ensure there is no PS4 delay in Europe.