Back in 2018 (if you can remember that far into the distant past) Sony announced that they would not be attending E3. It was huge news. People had been complaining about E3 for a while and having one of the biggest players not participate was pretty significant. Of course, we know they ran their own event later to quite a bit of fanfare. But let’s be honest, in 2018 PlayStation was on top of the world. They could do whatever they wanted. Then, in 2019 they decided to skip E3 again, but this time COVID decided everyone would be skipping it – so it wasn’t really a big deal. Well, E3 is returning this year in digital format and while huge names have already signed up including Microsoft, Nintendo, Square Enix and more, Sony’s name is once again… absent.
So is this a big deal? We just got the news that the PlayStation 5 is selling everywhere way faster than they can make them. We know that PS4 stole the show with their exclusives, and not only did Jim Ryan recently say even more exclusives were on the way in the future – even right now, their next exclusive, Returnal, is getting a lot of preview buzz. So, missing E3 – who cares? They’ll have their own show just before or after and be just fine, right? Well, I don’t know about you – but it seems to be the narrative around the PlayStation is changing these days.
Hey, PlayStation are you seeing this?
It was almost impossible to say anything critical about the PS without getting lambasted online just a year or two ago. They had the best games, they had the best tech. And, Xbox? Well… bleh! However, now I log on to almost any social media and my timeline is filled with people loving their Xbox Series X/S. People loving the features. People loving Phil Spencer. People loving their current games and excited about the promise of what’s to come after their huge studio acquisitions. And, probably most of all, people loving Game Pass. And now, seeing actual critical commentary on Sony is common too. And I can’t help but wonder – is Sony taking any notice of this?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Microsoft is making some headway. In fact, I’ve been singing their praises for a while now. And more competition is almost always better for consumers like you and me. Also, I’m not saying that Sony is suddenly going to disappear, trounced by the Big Green Xbox. PlayStation has a huge purchase base and lots of loyal fans. But, I do wonder if (like it’s happened so many times in the past) the market leader has become too comfortable in their position and is not moving as quickly as their competitor – and is about to lose their top spot. How big an impact is GamePass having? Are people happy to continue to pay even more money for new titles rather than having a monthly subscription service? Once Xbox studios start releasing their new titles – how many of them will be exclusive? Is Sony ready to have some proper competition again? Is missing E3 (especially when it’s all online) a risk worth taking?
In short, is it time to start worrying about PlayStation yet?