Even though there are a handful of different annual conferences, E3 usually has the biggest audience, which mean it garners the biggest. But for the first time in the show’s 24-year run, Sony won’t be attending E3 2019.
Variety reported earlier today (but swiftly took down) [EDIT: it’s back up] that Sony was not attending E3. The news was tucked away in the Electronic Software Association’s announcement of the 2019 event. Variety claimed that Shawn Layden, chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, didn’t want to disappoint fans since most of Sony’s big games would be out before then.
“Now that we have Spiderman [sic] out the door, we’re looking down in 2019 to games like Dreams and Days Gone but we wouldn’t have enough to bring people altogether in some location in North America to have that event,” he said.”We don’t want to set expectations really high and then not deliver on it.”
This was similar to Sony’s excuse for also not holding a PSX conference this year for the first time since its inception in 2014.
While the initial Variety story was taken down, Game Informer also had a similar report but with a quote from Sony. A Sony representative said that the company will also not hold a conference around E3 like EA nor will it be there at the show.
“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” Sony told Game Informer. “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.”
While Sony’s official statements give background to the decision to abstain, it doesn’t quite illuminate what it’ll do instead of E3. Despite not having one this year, Sony might have found it more beneficial to have its own PSX conference some other time (especially if it wants to announce a new piece of hardware). It could also potentially want to hold a Nintendo Direct-like “conference” where it can completely control the message in a less expensive way.
Whatever the reason, PlayStation senior vice president of communications Jennifer Clark told Game Informer that timing didn’t align for a proper Sony-caliber showing.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Regardless, it sounds like we’ll have to see what Sony will do instead of going to E3.