Last year, Sony announced that the PlayStation brand would be skipping E3 in 2019. It would mark a first for a company that has maintained an E3 presence since the very first one back in 1995. The announcement was somewhat of a surprise. Add to that the fact that 2018 did not have a PlayStation Experience (PSX) and 2019 remains very unclear as to what to expect from the company.
Maybe that’s the point.
We still don’t know what Sony has planned but Shawn Layden, SIE Worldwide Chairman, was interviewed by CNET regarding the big move to skip the biggest convention in the video game industry.
It’s a different world now
"The world has changed, but E3 hasn't necessarily changed with it," said Layden. “journalists who had magazines and lead time and jockeying for position on the cover. And there was no internet to speak of. So a trade show at that time of year for this nascent industry was exactly what we needed to do.”
The 90s was a different time for the industry, and thanks to how the internet works, this decision is really about keeping up with the times. How we connect online with social media and live streaming has lessened the E3 appeal year after year, which is the same reason as to why we have Nintendo in a more personal approach when it comes to announcements - the Nintendo Direct presentations.
Layden also explained that meeting retailers was another reason to attend E3 - showing off new stock that is planned for released during the Christmas season. But making a purchasing decision halfway through the year is just too late for most retailers nowadays. The two big reasons to attend E3 aren’t big enough reasons anymore to make a commitment.
Sadly, it makes sense to see Sony make the decision to skip E3. While it might remain the biggest gaming convention, it is no longer the only gaming convention. PAX, RTX, ESGS, Gamescom and dozens of other events throughout the year make for a pretty packed gaming convention calendar. That calls into question the relevance of E3.
Sony is moving on and is more than capable of bringing the important details and announcements directly to their market. How they will do it? That remains to be seen.