In case you missed the news, Sony is skipping E3 again. Last year, Sony shocked the gaming world when the PlayStation maker decided that E3 wasn’t a necessary part of its marketing plans. Sony, dominant as they are, don’t really need a big three-day industry event to get the eyeballs on their games or their impending new hardware. In this hyper-connected world, it’s cheaper, easier and less stressful to just beam a video to the entire world; something Nintendo learned when they stopped hosting a great big press conference at E3 opting instead for their now adored Nintendo Directs.
Sony’s likely used all the media monitoring tools at their disposal and found that they’ve generated as much (or possibly even more) in the way of press and engagement without having to spend veritable fortunes on events like E3. The only thing that makes their decision to withdraw this year a little surprising is that we know this is the year that Sony and Microsoft will show off their brand new consoles, and they’d love as many eyeballs as possible on those.
And they’ll get them. Sony doesn’t need E3 – and to be honest, Microsoft and Nintendo don’t either. For the last few years, EA’s also skipped E3, moving its event offsite. Last year, even Activision gave E3 a miss. It makes it easy to wonder about the relevance and future of the trade and industry expo. While Microsoft and Nintendo will still display their wares at E3 2020, Sony’s continued absence means it’ll be a slightly muted affair. The ESA who organises E3 every year, however, says that it’ll be a regular riot.
“E3 is a signature event celebrating the video game industry and showcasing the people, brands and innovations redefining entertainment loved by billions of people around the world. E3 2020 will be an exciting, high-energy show featuring new experiences, partners, exhibitor spaces, activations, and programming that will entertain new and veteran attendees alike. Exhibitor interest in our new activations is gaining the attention of brands that view E3 as a key opportunity to connect with video game fans worldwide.”
Yeah, okay. Honestly, I think E3 is struggling to maintain its relevance in an ever-changing media landscape. The show had significance in an era that wasn’t as connected as it is now and has struggled with its identity and place in a world that no longer needs major trade shows. The most unfortunate victims in E3’s continued march to irrelevance are indies and smaller developers who rely on events of its ilk to get attention; they don’t have the resources or built-in audiences that companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Activision and Sony have.
As for Sony? If you’re keen on what they have to show off, expect to see a fair bit from them next month.
Last Updated: January 15, 2020