When Sony decided to skip E3 last year it caused a bit of a stir. 25 years of tradition ended and for many, it marked the beginning of the end of the E3 event itself. Even before their departure, many had begun questioning the relevance of having such a massive event – while it did mean mainstream media was present, the spotlight had to be shared across the multiple big names. To add to this – if you happened to have a bad show or presentation articles focussing on how ‘X had lost E3’ could actually do more harm than good. Plus, for Sony in particular – 2019 was a bit of a lowkey year so it actually made a lot of sense for them to skip the show.
However, this year many suspected that with the upcoming launch of the PS5 Sony would make a triumphant return to E3 launching their new console to the same fanfare they had their previous generations. It turns out they won’t. In a statement provided to GamesIndustry.biz Sony said:
After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020. We have great respect for the ESA as an organization, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year. We will build upon our global events strategy in 2020 by participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe. Our focus is on making sure fans feel part of the PlayStation family and have access to play their favorite content. We have a fantastic line up of titles coming to PlayStation 4, and with the upcoming launch of PlayStation 5, we are truly looking forward to a year of celebration with our fans.SIE spokesperson as quoted in GamesIndustry.biz
In a recent tweet, Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier suggested that Sony’s absence could actually be related to their relationship with the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) organisers of E3. He said:
One juicy tidbit I heard last year was that Sony’s main reason for skipping E3 was disagreement/tension/conflict with the ESA, which is likely the driving factor here as well.
The industry seems to be changing and many people seem concerned that E3 is stuck somewhere between a place for video game fan service and celebration or simply an industry-focused event. However, whatever the case – Sony’s continued absence really opens up E3 for other companies like Nintendo and particularly Microsoft to take advantage of this year. And it will be interesting to see just how Sony decides to make the big PS5 reveal – especially since their State of Play presentations have been a bit hit-or-miss over the last year.