Microsoft sets date of Xbox Games Showcase, including Halo, for July 23
The Xbox maker's big video game reveal event will show off new games planned for its Xbox Series X, coming later this year.
Ian SherrFormer Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
plans to hold an event on July 23 at 9 a.m. PT / noon ET / 5 p.m. BST / 2 a.m. AEST during which it will show off many of the new games it's planning to release for its new Xbox Series X video game console, which is due this fall.
The game maker will be holding its Xbox Games Showcase, as the event is called, over a livestream from its Xbox website and YouTube, much as it has for previous announcements this year. Companies around the world from
to Microsoft have relied on internet streams to announce their newest products as governments around the world struggle to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that's infected more than 11 million people and killed more than half a million since late 2019.
Watch this: Microsoft debuts game footage of Assassin's Creed Valhalla for Xbox Series X
Microsoft's event will be headlined by Halo Infinite, a new installment in the company's blockbuster space war franchise. The Halo franchise, which tells the story of a superhuman soldier fighting all manner of threats from across the universe, has been one of the most important games on the Xbox since its launch in 2001.
The Xbox event comes as the video game industry prepares for two of its biggest new product launches in nearly a decade. Sony's PS5 and Microsoft'sXbox Series X are slated to be released in time for the holiday shopping season, promising sharper and more intricate visuals, faster gameplay and new titles such as Microsoft's Halo and Sony's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, itself a followup to the hit 2018 superhero game.
Microsoft changed its approach during its Build developers conference later that month, increasing production quality and retooling the length of individual announcements.
"This is interactive television," said Microsoft's Bob Bejan in an interview last month. As the corporate vice president who heads Microsoft's events, he's overseen the company's approach.
Online events need to think in television terms, he said, including keeping presentations at 22 minutes or 44 minutes like a regular episode, and keeping demos much shorter. It has to look different too, with more interaction between the presenter and the camera, instead of trying to do a stage presentation meant for thousands on a livestream instead. "It's in the human connection," he said.
Sony appeared to have learned some of those lessons for its PlayStation event on June 11, showing off new games as well as a surprise reveal of the design for its coming PlayStation 5, also coming this fall. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan kicked off the 74-minute-long presentation with a 58-second speech, which he finished by saying, "Enough from me. We're going to have the games do our talking."
By the end, Sony's event had been a steady stream of trailers for more than two dozen games, separated by short intermissions with artistic animations and dramatic music. The event lit up social media as fans ate up the news.
"Could Apple, whose slickly staged events have set a high bar for product unveilings, pull off a virtual keynote with the flourish and flair of its in-person extravaganzas and without the clapping crowds?" CNET Editor in Chief Connie Guglielmo wrote after the event. "The answer, judging by the reaction I've heard from developers, industry analysts, users and even many of us journalists who've also rushed for seats: Yep. And the virtual event may be the start of more to come."
Now Microsoft will have another chance to speak to its Xbox fans on July 23. Along with our sister site GameSpot, CNET's global team will cover Microsoft's event, as well as other conferences that have shifted online. And our coverage will include the real-time updates, commentary and analysis you can only get here.