Analyzing Sony’s decision to skip this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo
Sony stunned the video game community last year announcing they won’t be a part of this summer’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3. What led Sony to abandon the showpiece gaming event for the first time in their history? As the dust begins to settle on Sony’s announcement, much sense could be made of their decision, which initially seemed bold and reckless.
Shawn Layden, Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, sat down with CNET explaining the rationale behind Sony’s E3 absence. Here’s what he had to say-
“Now we have an event in February called Destination PlayStation, where we bring all retailers and third-party partners to come hear the story for the year. They’re making purchasing discussions in February. June, now, is just too late to have a Christmas holiday discussion with retailers.”
“So retail has really dropped off. And journalists now, with the internet and the fact that 24/7 there is game news, it’s lost its impact around that,” said Layden. “So the trade show became a trade show without a lot of trade activity. The world has changed, but E3 hasn’t necessarily changed with it. And with our decision to do fewer games, bigger games, over longer periods of time, we got to a point where June of 2019 was not a time for us to have a new thing to say. And we feel like if we ring the bell and people show up here in force, people have expectations ‘Oh, they’re going to tell us something’.”
As Layden points out, Sony is focusing on the grandeur of their gaming projects instead of rushing up deadlines. As the company keeps heading this direction, the number of their yearly releases took a significant hit. So, it’s a viable possibility that Sony doesn’t have enough on its pipeline for this year’s E3, given they already made some high profile announcements at their own Destination Playstation event.
Nintendo and Microsoft will be the obvious headliners without Sony’s presence at E3. But there are reasons to believe that Sony’s rivals could still have come out on top had the PlayStation creators joined the expo. Microsoft are rumored to be making some big plans for this year’s E3, which might see them announcing the next generation Xbox codenamed Project Scarlett and their new game streaming service X Cloud whereas Nintendo have already confirmed they would reveal more details on Pokemon Swords and Shield.
Sony have enjoyed great success last year with God of War, Spiderman and Horizon Zero Dawn and of course, PlayStation is still the best selling console of this generation, but most of their new undertakings are in early development stage. Sony have shown The Last of Us 2 gameplay demos in each of their last two E3 outings, but the game is yet to have a fixed release date. So, what could Sony have done to eclipse their competition at this year’s E3? Most of their future plans have already been discussed at Destination Playstation, a sneak peak into Playstation 5 would’ve been a definite game changer but they’re still quite a way off on that front as well. Therefore, turning up at E3 with just a few title cards could have been a disaster.
All things considered, bowing out of E3 2019 is a smart move by Sony. This is a battle they had to lose to win the war. I refuse to believe we’ve seen the last E3 appearance of Sony. Despite the changing industry trends, E3 is still the Christmas for gaming product launches and Sony won’t pass up on the opportunity to upstage their competitors at such a big stage when the opportunity comes.