Report: Microsoft is planning a 'What's next for gaming' Xbox event

Build Logo
Build Logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports that there's a "What's Next for Gaming" event on the way from Microsoft.
  • It's likely to be tied up to Build 2021, the company's big annual developer conference.
  • While there likely won't be games revealed at this event, it should offer a glimpse at upcoming tech and features for the Xbox platform.

Xbox has been on fire lately, dominating the airwaves with massive drops for Xbox Game Pass, including Outriders and PlayStation-developed MLB: The Show. Microsoft also held a March ID@Xbox event where they showcased dozens upon dozens of games recently in partnership with Twitch. Microsoft isn't slowing down, according to a new report from leading Microsoft expert Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet.

The news comes hot on the heels of Microsoft's announcement for Build 2021, the firm's big developer conference, which is slated for May 25 to May 27. As part of these events, Foley notes that Microsoft is planning a range of smaller "What's Next" virtual events, which will include a feature specifically tailored around gaming. Foley also notes that this is not the upcoming Game Stack Live event, slated for April.

Microsoft is supplementing its main, larger conferences this year with smaller "What's Next" virtual events. A "What's Next for Gaming" event is expected in the coming weeks. The Game Stack Live event also listed on the US events page is not that event, I hear.

Given that this event will form part of Microsoft's Build festivities, it's unlikely we'll see any new games revealed here. What you should expect, however, is new features and technology Microsoft is working on to improve dev's lives in the gaming space. We could see glimpses of new graphics technology and features slated for future versions of the Xbox toolset, as well as features coming to the Xbox platform in general.

Microsoft has previously made consumer-oriented announcements at Build in the past, revealing new products and services, too. It could be at this event where the planned expansion of Xbox Game Pass to web browsers is revealed, bringing the all-you-can-eat gaming service to iOS, Chromebooks, MacOS, and low-power PCs and laptops. Given Microsoft's widely-rumored talks to acquire gaming comms platform Discord, it would also be an opportune time to shed light on what the partnership means for the Xbox platform and beyond.

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Bit irrelevant if you can't actually buy one, how many months for stock so far
  • BUILD is about *developer* tools, not consumer products. So the XBOX spinoff will likely focus strongly on DirectX 12 Ultimate and GAMEPASS, things that matter to developers. It would also be a good place to discuss how MS intends to fold ORION into xCloud. Or maybe the ID TECH7 engine or Azure Playfab.
    Lots of possibilities.
  • That word "developer" when referring to a game...
    Hardly anything has been developed since Kinect.
  • That is debatable for hardware.
    But software?
    Develop doesn't just mean "create from nothing".
    Develop can mean "refine" "adapt" "evolve".
    Things like ray-tracing, variable rate shading, AI upscaling, variable framerates, dynamic resolution are all refinements to the game architecture world. And that is without even factoring in cloud streaming.
    Any or all of those can have a deep impact on the process of taking a game from concept to revenue-generating product. If there is one thing the market teaches is that evolution beats stunts like wagglewands or revolutions like VR goggles and computer vision systems.
    Gaming has a lot of inertia; the market loves "the same, but different".
  • Apparently, there'll be one for Windows as well.