In a surprising turn of events, Sony has announced (via Variety) that it will not be participating in E3 2019.
Microsoft quickly jumped on the opportunity to take a jab at Sony‘s announcement. Phil Spencer tweeted that the company will have “a lot to share with fans at E3 2019,’ following it with it’s “always a high point of the year to witness the industry’s creativity and the energy of the community.” Yeah, we get it, Phil, Microsoft is going to capitalize on this.
Of course, this announcement has led to mass speculation as to the reason WHY Sony is skipping the largest gaming show of the year. Some feel that it has to do with their focus to unveil the PlayStation 5 at E3 2020, others claiming it’s solely because Sony has already blown their proverbial load by showcasing their top IP’s at this years E3 and having nothing new to really show. The other possibility is that Sony is planning on showcasing things on their own.
In the past few years, E3’s relevance has significantly decreased with AAA developers like Blizzard and EA, among others, choosing to host their own events. Sony has always had a strong presence at E3 though. In the 24 years since E3 began, Sony has always held a prominent spot on the roster. So it’s not surprising this has come as quite a shock to the broader gaming community. It would make sense for the industry giant, however, to put all the money they would spend on the show into research and development instead and double down on their new console.
It is important to note that this doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing anything from Sony in 2019. During their announcement, Sony made the following statement:
“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. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
In a time where industry leaks and streaming alternatives reign supreme could Sony be planning to divulge information through services like YouTube? It would still allow them to cater to the masses while simultaneously control the distribution of information. It could also, potentially, mean reaching more people by taking this route. Cost also comes into play here as well. By hosting a live-stream from their own company or a smaller venue of their choosing they would drastically decrease the cost of a big reveal, while still giving fans something to look forward to.
On the other hand, this could all just be a huge “throw your dick on the table” move, some certainly have taken the news that way. Since the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the PS4 has completely dominated the “console war” of this generation. This could just be a move by Sony to let the PS4 ride out the rest of it’s life cycle simply on it’s already strong reputation. We know what is coming for the system in the next year or two, with titles like Days Gone, Ghosts of Tsushima, The Last of Us 2, and Death Stranding.
These are all huge games by some of the industries best developers, and we have already seen a ton of gameplay and content from each IP. Why beat a dead horse when you can trust, and know that all of these titles are going to rake in a ton of money? It’s a bold move regardless of the reason why, hopefully, it pays off and isn’t just Sony getting too big for their own egos again.
We saw a similar trend with the transition from the PlayStation 2 to the 3. Microsoft, in the end, came out as a stronger console in that generation with the 360. As most of us know, history can, and normally will repeat itself. While I’m hoping that Sony has learned from their past mistakes, it is possible we could see a repeat of that with the release of the PlayStation 5.
Lastly, it could simply be that Sony just doesn’t really have anything new to show off. Their E3 2018 showcase left a lot to be desired for most people. With a singular emphasis on the aforementioned IP’s they didn’t deliver as much as we had gotten used to seeing from them. On top of that, their absence at PSX left us speculating similar things. For a majority of fans, it feels like Sony‘s well of new ideas or IPs is running dry at the present moment. It’s smart for them to skip E3 2019 if all they can show us is more of what we have already seen. Seeing as how that would lead to a ton of negative backlash, it’s a clever move for them to get out ahead of this and just not participate.
So while Sony has promised they will be engaging their fans in 2019, they failed to mention how or when. With all of the upcoming releases at the end of 2018 and the strong roster of games coming to both consoles in early 2019, it isn’t something they need to immediately address.
Aside from recent, minor mishaps, like their unwillingness to allow cross platform play, Sony has ridden a strong, consistent wave for the entirety of this console generation. While speculation is completely fine, and can even be fun, it is too early to determine whether or not this choice is the right one for Sony. So while some will surely condemn the developer, we should trust that, for now, they know what they’re doing. Regardless, there is a ton to look forward to in the coming months, so until we know more, you do you Sony. See you at E3 2020?