Xbox Winter Game Fest is about to serve up a ton of indie game demos

With The 2021 Game Awards just around the corner, Microsoft has announced that it will once more host a collection of game demos for Xbox owners to check out. Officially called the ID@Xbox Winter Game Fest Demo Event, this two-week event will give Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One owners the chance to check out some upcoming indie games. Unlike the Steam Next Fest, which runs for a week and includes more demos than anyone could ever hope to complete in that timeframe, the Winter Game Fest event will be a little more manageable.

Xbox indie games on display

Before we can dive into the details about the Winter Game Fest Demo Event, it's probably good to have a refresher about what the ID@Xbox program actually is. The ID@Xbox program allows independent developers to self-publish games to Xbox consoles, and while that's big enough on its own, the program also supports developers in those endeavors by doing things like providing free dev kits and documentation.

Since this is an ID@Xbox event, that means all of the titles on display will be indie games destined for self-publication on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, or both. Microsoft says that it will have demos for more than 35 games on display, and with the event slated to run for two weeks, that should be plenty of time to check each one out (for motivated players who want to try every single one, at least).

Microsoft says that it will share a full list of the demos that will be available closer to the event's start date, but it named five of the participating games on Xbox Wire today: Loot River, Death Trash, Blacktail, The Tale of Bistun, and Nobody Saves the World.

When does the Winter Game Fest Demo Event begin

Since this is a tie-in event with The Game Awards, it comes as little surprise to hear that the Winter Game Fest Demo Event will kick off on December 7th – just a couple of days before The Game Awards. The event will run for two weeks, wrapping up on December 21st. In today's announcement, Microsoft also made a couple of points that players should consider before diving in.

The first thing to keep in mind is that these aren't going to be like traditional game demos in that they won't necessarily be representative of the finished product. Since many of these games are still early in development, what we see in a given demo could drastically change by the time the full game actually releases.

Microsoft also warns players not to put off playing any demos that catch their eye, as most demos probably won't come back after they disappear on December 21st. In short: play any demos you may be interested in while you're sure you have the chance during the event, because there's no guarantee that they'll be published to the Xbox Demo channel later.

As for The 2021 Game Awards, you'll be able to catch the show live streaming on a huge number of platforms on December 9th at 7 PM EST. The nominees for each category have already been announced, and they include a packed ticket for Game of the Year 2021.