With Video Game Conventions Canceled, Microsoft is Bringing the Game Demos to You

Disclaimer: Yes, we are very aware this is an Xbox-focused thing on a PlayStation site, but it’s a huge shift for the gaming industry that will have effects on everyone, so we felt it was worth knowing about, even if you only have a PlayStation.

Can’t go to a gaming convention? Well, Microsoft is bringing the game convention to you, as long as you have an Xbox One. It’s a pretty massive and unprecedented move. 2020 and its rampaging pandemic have effectively canceled every major gaming convention, from E3 to PAX to EGX. Where gamers and press would normally get the opportunity to go hands-on with new and upcoming games at these shows, publishers and developers have had to looks for creative and unique solutions this year. Microsoft will be holding the Summer Game Fest Demo Event from July 21 to July 27.

The Summer Game Fest Demo Event is accessible right from your Xbox One dashboard via a Summer Game Fest tile. This will be home to more than 60 game demos (they estimate between 75-100 by the time the full list is announced) for new and upcoming games. Though game demos are already a thing, this event is a big change to how they normally work. Most game demos available at home to consumers are representative of the final product, releasing either shortly before or after the full game is finished and available. The Demo Event will make “show floor demos” available to consumers, which are very different from the polished consumer demos normally released.

The demos will only be there for a limited time during the week of the Demo Event. After July 27, the demos will vanish, much like last call at a convention hall before they close the doors and tear down the booths. The Summer Game Fest Demo Event is meant to mimic that week of show floor excitement, only now everybody can get involved directly from home.

Here are a few of the titles confirmed to have playable demos during the event:

  • Cris Tales
  • Destroy All Humans!
  • Haven
  • Hellpoint
  • Skatebird
  • The Vale: Shadow of the Crown
  • Raji: An Ancient Epic
  • Welcome to Elk

It’s not entirely clear if the demos will need to be downloaded or if they’ll be streamed (and subsequently require an internet connection), but either way, it’s still far more accessible for most people than traveling to a gaming convention and then waiting in line to play a 20 minute slice of a game.

Unfortunately this is an Xbox exclusive event, so if you’re a PlayStation player, there’s nothing similar on this side of the fence just yet. It’s likely the Summer Game Fest Demo Event uses Microsoft’s extensive cloud and streaming tech to host these demos and allow players to quickly access them during the event week, and it could offer us a peek at the future of gaming conventions and getting playable builds of games into more players’ hands. After all, why pay a bunch of money for a booth that’s going to get limited foot traffic when you could simply have your demo available free for a week to everyone who owns the consoles?

For PlayStation players, if you do have an Xbox One, it’s likely going to be worth checking out the Demo Event, as many of the presented games will be available on PlayStation as well. The Summer Game Fest Demo Event is just the latest way the games industry is trying to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic that’s completely upended 2020, and it’s a pretty brilliant accessibility move that brings the convention home to you.

Summer Game Fest Demo Event is happening exclusively on Xbox One from July 21 through July 27.

[Source: Microsoft]