In 2020, live product launches turned into infomercials

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

In a year when the spread of COVID-19 made bringing large crowds together impossible, companies around the world had to reevaluate their love affair with the live product launch. Packing hundreds of attendees into extravagant venues to hang on every word of company executives was never going to be possible in an era of social distancing. Instead, events moved online, and many changed completely in the process as companies dropped risky product demonstrations in favor of slick prerecorded video segments. These events effectively turned from live launches into infomercials, and it makes me wonder how the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, Sony, or Microsoft will be able to go back.

It’s a striking change, thanks in part to how consistent the…

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