Microsoft is returning to selling products at brick-and-mortar stores, kind of. The software giant will start selling products at its â€śExperience Centersâ€ť in London, New York City, and Sydney next month. Select Microsoft products will be available on July 1st, but the global chip shortage will impact whatâ€™s available to buy.
Xbox Series X / S consoles wonâ€™t be available initially, until stocks of these devices improve to meet demand. Other Xbox-related products will be available, alongside Surface devices and Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
â€śOur Microsoft Experience Centers were created to provide customers a way to experience our products in person,â€ť said Travis Walter, Microsoftâ€™s head of retail stores, in a statement to The Verge. â€śWe use these spaces to test and experiment, and continue to evolve the experience based on customer feedback. Starting July 1st, customers will be able to purchase select Microsoft products at the New York, London and Sydney locations.â€ť
Microsoft permanently closed its retail stores in the US and around the world last year, shortly after the pandemic began. The company has been moving store employees to areas that help sell to, train, and support Microsoftâ€™s business customers.
This move doesnâ€™t signal a return of Microsoftâ€™s retail stores, and there wonâ€™t be online ordering or pick up in store available. Microsoft has been using its four Experience Center locations to host business customers, and the ability to purchase items is primarily aimed at those who visit.