Depending on how you look at E3, next year’s event will be missing one-third of its content. Sony confirmed with multiple outlets this evening that the company will be skipping E3 in 2019 and that the company won’t be holding a keynote.
In a statement released to the press Sony explained, “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community.” The company added, “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 the first time ever that the Playstation brand will be absent from the E3 Expo, a tradition that started way back in 1995. While it came as a surprise that Sony finally made the decision to skip E3, this isn’t the first event that Sony has shuttered lately. The company also skipped over the popular Playstation Experience event with fans, and it seems like E3 might be on its way out.
While the decision to skip E3 may be disappointing to Playstation fans, it seems like an inevitable decision that all of the major console will make at some point. Nintendo has skipped E3 in the past when it didn’t have enough new content on the way to justify a keynote price-tag, and now the Nintendo Direct videos and the Nintendo Switch are more popular than ever. E3 started as a great way to showcase new gaming content to the press, but over the years it has turned into an event to sell ads and merch directly to fans. Now we have the flavored-corn chips back room exclusive interviews, and the popular soda stage-cam when fans stream E3 online.
Now that Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have Twitch, YouTube, and their own websites, they don’t really need E3 to showcase their new gear to fans. Hosting their own events means they don’t have to share any time with the competition; they can work on their own schedule; the cost is considerably less, and they still can interact directly with the press and fans if they want to host an event.
Over the last few years many have questioned why E3 is even still around. For the company that hosts E3 it’s a money-making gold mine, and its a perfect opportunity for advertisers to engage with a captive audience. For console makers and fans, there are easier and cheaper ways to interact with their favorite developers. The success of Blizzard World shows that a big studio can host its own event, and Sony and Microsoft could pay to host their first-party developer team anytime they want. While Sony could still return to showcase the PS5 in 2020, it would be surprising. I personally think it would be better for everyone for the console makers, and a PC exclusive event, to host their content separately.