The history of the Electronic Entertainment Expo is as long as it is circuitous. The annual event has traditionally brought the entire gaming industry together as developers and publishers fight for attention both on and off the show floor through announcements, trailers, and pomp and circumstance. The displays of grandeur have ebbed and flowed over the course of E3’s soon-to-be 25-year history, with different companies occasionally reconsidering the extent of their involvement in the show. Now one of its biggest players, Sony, has decided that PlayStation will not be attending E3 in 2019.
“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” the company told Game Informer in a statement. “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.”
When asked if Sony would push its event off-site, similar to how Electronic Arts provides a show adjacent to E3, PlayStation senior vice president of communications Jennifer Clark elaborated further saying, “We will not activate or hold a press conference around E3.”
Sony’s withdrawal from E3 likely comes as a disappointment to fans that look forward to the company’s stage show as a centerpiece for the expo as a whole. From huge announcements like Spider-Man and Horizon: Zero Dawn to tense, on-stage demos like The Last of Us, Sony has always brought a certain flair to the show. The press conference battle between Microsoft and Sony, especially once Nintendo changed to a video format, is often the talk of E3.
The announcement comes after Sony declined to hold their annual fan event called PlayStation Experience, or PSX, this year, which usually takes place in the first two weeks of December. Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden said at the time that there simply was not enough to show this year, a problem that fans also pointed out during the previous year’s more low-key event.
The official statement suggests that Sony plans to engage the community in other events. Does this mean Sony will be reviving the currently shuttered PlayStation Experience? “We are looking at events as a whole and how we can speak more to our fans and continue to wow them. The timing of PSX and E3 didn’t allow for that,” Clark replied. “But lots of exciting things to come, and we hope to share shortly. Some of our biggest games will have key milestones next year so we will work hard to blow those up.”
The Entertainment Software Association, or ESA, has hosted E3 since its inception in 1995. The trade association is made up of the video game industry’s largest and most notable publishers, including Sony Interactive Entertainment, and has recently made moves to transition E3 from less of an industry event to a fan-inclusive one. We reached out to the ESA about Sony’s announcement, and were informed they plan to release a statement later today.
What do you think about Sony pulling away from E3 in 2019? Does it change your view of the show? Let us know below in the comments.
Andy McNamara provided additional reporting for this article.
This news will escalate the feeling among many that E3 has simply lessened in importance in recent years. Of course, that remains to be seen since the show has been evolving into a more consumer-focused event. Sony could take this opportunity to build a fan expo like BlizzCon, which takes place when the timing is right for Sony. Or the platform holder could go the more direct route like Nintendo, leveraging its own social channels to promote its products globally. The other side of that argument is that E3 is when the industry has the world’s attention, and Sony could be missing out on that opportunity.