Microsoft's Experience Centers are as close to physical retail as the company will go... for now
Microsoft's retail game isn't dead; it's just barely alive.
What you need to know
- Microsoft shuttered its physical retail stores in 2020.
- It kept a handful of "Experience Centers" alive.
- Those centers will now sell goods off the shelf. Y'know, like retail does.
Even though Microsoft ended its retail operations back in 2020, a few physical stores lived on and were transformed into "Experience Centers." They're located in NYC, Redmond (Washington), London, and Sydney, Australia. And now, they'll be selling physical goods just like the old retail Microsoft Stores did.
As reported by The Verge, the NYC, London, and Sydney locations will start selling products on July 1. This won't be your sneaky way to score an Xbox Series X since that product won't be available at Experience Centers until shortages die down, but other Xbox goodies will be on sale, as will Surface devices and related products.
However, don't think these storefront additions signify anything major. You won't be able to order items online for in-store pickup with this new change, so Microsoft's inclusion of product selling in its Experience Centers seems targeted solely at scoring a few extra bucks from people already visiting.
Who knows what the future may hold, though. If items fly off the shelves at these Experience Centers and the pandemic fades into the sunset, perhaps physical retail will become viable for Microsoft once again.
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Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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