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Sony Drops Out Of E3 2019: What Does This Mean?

Update: we’ve added in more leaks concerning Sony’s latest plan with a new console. 

Announced earlier today to the shock of the gaming world, Sony PlayStation will not be attending E3 2019. The company told Game Informer, “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.”

PlayStation senior vice president of communications Jennifer Clark elaborated further saying, “We will not activate or hold a press conference around E3.”

This means that none of this EA Play-style stunt which while technically don’t see them on the floor of the LA Convention Centre, would still make presence felt around the nearby grounds of downtown LA.

This announcement may have taken many by surprise but we have several theories as of why Sony opted for the move. Here they are in no particular order:

1. They have shown all of their cards and no noteworthy announcements are primed for E3 2019

God of War_20180331010013

God of War’s vistas in a nutshell: majestic and vast.

Sony has shown all their cards for their 2019 during the recent PlayStation Experience 2018 and in that, has plotted a roadmap for their strategy going forward. Titles such as Death Stranding, Sekiro, Ghost of Tsushima and of course, The Last of Us 2 don’t need any more introduction.

Rather than showing a tweaked teaser and/or updated gameplay, Sony opted to raise the demand and anticipation of their games by putting a lid on them.

2. Sony understands that their rivals (and E3) need them more than vice versa


Image credit: Polygon

Fact: Who benefits most from Sony’s presence at E3? Typical answer: Gamers. Real answer; Microsoft and Xbox. Microsoft’s Xbox One is clearly trailing Sony’s PS4 this console generation and make no mistake, next year would be no different.

Instead of forcing themselves to play along to the rehashed annual tunes which indirectly help shed light to their competitors, Sony probably felt it’s more fitting to break out of the mould and run their own thing where they alone become the centrepiece.

They’ve done it before with Gamescom where they shirked it and went with PSX … so why not E3? It’s only a few months away from Sony’s ‘home ground’ event at TGS and they have full control of their own narrative, timeframe and release windows for their titles.

This has been Nintendo’s playbook all these years and they’ve never been stronger.

3. Sony is planning for more localised PSX events


Image credit: Polygon

In 2017, Sony pulled off an unprecedented move of hosting a PlayStation Experience event outside of New York with PSX Kuala Lumpur. It was then followed by PSX in Bangkok earlier this year and based on what we’ve seen – bigger things are coming.

What is holding them back from running similar and simultaneous PSX events all around the globe which would reach more audience, right? It would be a much better return of investment if Sony is all about reaching their audience and possibly cheaper too.

Rather than spending all that cash for floor space at LA Convention Center while at the same time flying in journalists from all around the globe to cover the event in the US of A, SIE’s regional offices can bring the games to your town.

4. They are saving their stuff for the huge PS5 announcement in 2019


As the PlayStation 4 lifecycle comes to its final leg(s), we cannot help but anticipate for official announcements for the PlayStation 5. If I were Sony, I wouldn’t allow my biggest announcement of the next half-decade or so to be dictated and swayed by timetables and schedules of a trade show that has somehow lost its allure recently. June 2019 might be too early to reveal any specs for the PS5 and waiting a bit later for the PSX might be a tad too late.

Update: we also heard some news from developers that the PlayStation 5 is real. Allegedly. The same Reddit thread that talked about Sony skipping E3 also contains info on the PS5:

  • The PS5 devkit is with developers at this point in time. It’s a huge device that can run stable 4K at 60fps and may be priced at US$500.
  • The PS5 may be out either on March or November of 2020. The system will be announced mid-2019 during one of their official PlayStation Experience events.
  • Launch titles for the PS5? Most likely Death Stranding, The Last of Us Part 2, & Ghost of Tsushima.

Love them or hate them, Sony plays a critical role in the games industry. By distancing themselves from the constraints of E3, allows them to dictate their own direction and directly (or indirectly) force everyone else to dance to their own tune. Instead of being just one of the other fishes in the pond, they decided to be the pond.

The market will now wait for Sony’s next announcement and quite possibly, hints on the PS5 which would shake the gaming market to the core. As for their rivals, Microsoft will again be made to look like a follower rather than an industry leader, worthy of Sony’s attention.

In other words: checkmate.

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