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Sony Will Not Be at E3 2019

Sony told Engadget that it will not be at E3 in 2019. After cancelling its PSX event for not having enough to make it worth it, this seems to be coming from a very different place. The statement for skipping E3 like an alcoholic dad skips your birthday (went surprisingly dark there) is full of the usual PR speak, but it’s interesting nonetheless. They say,

“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.”

This is a very big shift for the current generation’s console leader. Since 1995, PlayStation has been a part of the annual industry/consumer show. They have been one of the major press conferences at the event, even as individual publishers have begun to have separate presentations.

If I can speculate here for a second, there are probably two reasons (probably more) for why they are skipping. First, E3 is an expensive show to attend. They have costs for hotels, food, rentals, equipment, employees, and the cost (and hassle) to host the show. The planning takes months, and that employee time is probably expensive as well. It could be millions of dollars when you factor all the costs.

The second reason is that they don’t need to do this to deliver a message anymore. They can distribute info on Twitch, YouTube, the PlayStation Blog, and game sites. The brand is recognized, and people want to play the games. Maybe, and it kills me to say this, they should take a page out of Nintendo’s book and have a presentation whenever they have something they are ready to show without waiting for a particular day. Pre-record interviews with developers and play those as well. There are a lot of advantages for them to still control and shape the message, and gamers still have the same info they would have had.

Beyond my unfounded opinions, it will be interesting to see the new ways they choose to engage. I’m sure we’ll still have all the usual trailers and exciting info for its biggest releases next year no matter what new forms it may take.

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