PlayStation 4 has been the dominant console of this generation. Despite the success, Sony has announced that it will be skipping this year’s E3 expo in Los Angeles.
“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. 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,” Sony told us in a statement. “We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
For the general public, the annual event has always been defined by each publisher’s press conference. In recent years the number of conferences has grown to include Microsoft, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Nintendo.
Some, like Sony and EA, have even created fan-focused events around E3 like PlayStation Experience and EA PLAY, respectively. Sony canceled the former in September citing a lack of unreleased games for fans to experience.
Sony also confirmed to Game Informer that it will not have an online press conference during the convention either.
E3 has been running for 24 years and this is the first one that Sony will miss.
With each passing E3, Microsoft and Sony have continued to ramp up their production. In the last few years Sony started using a live orchestra to produce music for some of its segments. Microsoft started bringing in the latest million-dollar sports cars to promote its Forza series, dropping them down from the ceiling or revealing them from behind giant doors.
Meanwhile, Nintendo has switched to their Nintendo Direct system, rejecting the idea that they had to have a physical conference in LA. Perhaps it’s that success has revealed that there are better ways to reach their target audience.
This comes off the back of Microsoft’s X018 revival, hosted in Mexico City. While the event itself was lackluster and full of what felt like filler, it might be a sign of how game publishers are changing their approach.
It’ll be interesting to see how E3 itself fairs after the news. EA and Microsoft have started holding their hands-on experience off-site, leaving a pretty big hole in the convention center. Sony will join them as the company won’t have any kind of booth presence either.
We’re at an interesting crossroads where E3 seeks growth, letting the general public buy tickets and attend, while publishers continue to scale down their investment.
Fans will likely be disappointed by the news. Each year, the company’s biggest fans like to rank each press conference, comparing the blockbuster announcements against each other. The battle between Microsoft and Sony has always been the main event. With no broadcast during the convention dates, there will no longer be a comparison to make.
It’s entirely plausible that Sony just doesn’t have much to share this year.
The publisher likely has PlayStation 5 in the works, but that’s not expected until 2020. An announcement this year is unlikely. There’s also Death Stranding, The Last of Us 2, and Ghost of Tsushima which were all announced last year but don’t have set release dates. Outside of a new teaser trailer specifying dates, there’s honestly not a lot for Sony to talk about short of new projects.
We’ll see what’s next for the publisher. A change was great for Nintendo. Its community loves Nintendo Directs. Maybe PlayStation Directs are up next.