For the first time in the show’s 24 year history, PlayStation will not have a presence at E3.
The company behind E3, the ESA, shared the first details about next year’s event, and Sony’s name is nowhere to be found. The other usual suspects are all there. Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Activision, and the like all have plans to be at the show.
Sony confirmed its plans to skip E3 2019 to Game Informer. “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” Sony said. “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
Game Informer asked if Sony had plans to hold an off-site event similar to EA’s “EA Play” event. “We will not activate or hold a press conference around E3,” replied Sony.
Sony also announced earlier this fall that it would not be holding a PlayStation Experience event this year. Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden attributed the cancellation of the fan event to simply not having enough to show, which was a common criticism of the company’s showing at E3 2018, in which they primarily focused on only four titles.
This news, along with the surge of popularity of shows like Nintendo Direct and Inside Xbox, reaffirms the belief held by many that E3 just isn’t as is important as is used to be. E3 used to be where everything was announced, but now with the rise of streaming and video content, companies can put out information when they want and how they want. They don’t have to share the spotlight with their competition either.
Sony has been shifting away from the E3 stage for some time now. This year’s showing was a more intimate showcase rather than an extravagant press conference. Most of their important announcements, like the release dates for God of War, Detroit, and Spider-Man, things people were sure would be PSX or E3 announcements, were dropped on the PlayStation Blog with little fanfare. They even announced the long awaited and highly requested name change feature in a blog post. Sony’s reliance on the PlayStation Blog to break news will likely ramp up in the next year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the release date for The Last of Us Part II or Ghost of Tsushima just showed up on the PlayStation Blog one morning.
Sony might be planning a more direct, fan-centric means of delivering news and content to its userbase similar to Microsoft’s Inside Xbox or Nintendo’s Directs. The company did say they were “exploring new and familiar ways to engage [their] community”, and Inside Xbox and Nintendo Directs are regularly hyped up by fans, especially the latter, and both always make headlines at relatively uncrowded times of the year. Regardless, Sony’s definitely planning some changes.
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