Microsoft has locked in the dates for Build 2021, which will be all-virtual again this year due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. One of the early surprises is a scheduled “What’s Next for Gaming” event to be held during the annual conference.
At Build, Microsoft does not usually go big on gaming, preferring to focus on other areas of its business. In fact, the company does not have a dedicated gaming conference. Instead, major Xbox and PC Gaming announcements are made at E3 and other events.
However, it’s worth noting Microsoft’s “What’s Next” is a series of small introductions into the company’s future plans. In other words, you may not hear about major announcements. Instead, we expect Microsoft will focus on its ongoing plans for Project xCloud and how it plans to leverage the acquisition of Bethesda parent ZeniMax Media.
As for the Build 2021 conference, the annual event will take place over the days May 25 to 27. Last year, Microsoft made the decision to host all its conferences online through 2021 with travel restrictions likely to continue during this year. One of the benefits of a virtual Build is everyone can attend.
Project xCloud and ZeniMax Purchase
As mentioned, Microsoft’s What’s Next in Gaming event will likely center on the company’s cloud gaming ambitions. Microsoft has recently confirmed Project xCloud will launch this spring. That’s a perfect timeframe for the company to discuss it’s wider plans for the platform at Build 2021.
Microsoft announced the acquisition last year, the company behind Bethesda Studios, for $7.5 billion. The ZeniMax purchase was the biggest gaming acquisition ever, highlighting Microsoft’s commitment to Xbox Game Studios.
With ZeniMax and Bethesda under its wing, Microsoft will further drive into a player-centric gaming market. Replacing the old device-centric market, it is now players who dictate content. As Microsoft pushes further into the cloud, Bethesda will play an important role. That will start with the release of the company’s Starfield online title on Xbox Game Pass.
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