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Microsoft ditches Gamescom 2016 press conference for fan event

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European Xbox fans get a chance to try out some big new games

Microsoft will host an event specifically for Xbox fans during Gamescom 2016 in lieu of its traditional media briefing. The company announced that Xbox FanFest will take the place of its press conference, allowing attendees to go hands-on with some of the Xbox One’s biggest upcoming games.

The event will run from Aug. 18-24 as part of the annual gaming convention, held in Cologne, Germany. Visitors will have the chance to play a lineup that includes Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, ReCore and Sea of Thieves, all of which were among the company’s showing at E3 2016 this past June.

Microsoft highlighted its major E3 appearance alongside the announcement that the company had bowed out of a Gamescom press conference. This year’s show included news about new iterations on the Xbox One console, as well as release dates and gameplay footage of several anticipated titles.

Yet passing on a press event at Gamescom is a change from last year, where Xbox news dominated amidst Sony’s absence. Sony skipped a Gamescom 2015 media event in favor of PlayStation Paris Games Week, held that fall.

Sony has yet to announce its plans for Gamescom 2016, this year’s installment of Europe’s biggest gaming convention-meets-conference. We’ll know more in the coming weeks.