Despite Launching PlayStation 5 This Year, Sony Will Skip E3 Again

Sony will not attend E3, historically the most news-making event on the video game calendar, according to a statement released to GamesIndustry.biz. This is the same year Sony will launch PlayStation 5, making it an extremely important year for the company.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qjd8yw/despite-launching-playstation-5-this-year-sony-will-skip-e3-again

This is a fascinating decision. On the one hand, attending E3 is mad expensive and extremely disruptive for development teams. On the other hand, you’re launching a new console without an E3 presentation? It’s possible, I guess, but hmmm.

This decision makes a lot of sense. E3 is so onerous to development teams, so the ability to show a canned demo on the main stage rather than put together something somewhat playable in order to be eligible for E3 awards will be huge for the people Sony choose to partner with, plus they can cut out the noise of the competition. All they need to do is come across as confident and the everyday game-playing public won’t notice the difference.

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E3 is such a loud time in gaming, everyone vying for the same limited amount of attention. Both MSFT and Sony would benefit from segregating their rollouts and MSFT owns a theater near E3 so let them have the E3 press conference.

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Sony can sit out E3 and still put out a launch campaign for the PS5 during the time slot when they would normally be giving an E3 presentation.

Having a spot on the show floor probably won’t harm their promotional efforts.

I guess Sony want to announce the console completely on their own terms. The last E3 presentation they did with all the different rooms and the bodies hanging in the trees? Just a little too weird.

There’s no real reason for them to attend and the ESA are garbage so this is a good choice in my book.

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After doxxing, idk, practically every attending journalist, E3 should bleed to death. I agree it seems like a good choice.

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As someone who has “watched” E3 from home for decades now, I have literally never cared about who’s got booths and what they have there. The E3 experience has always started and ended with the press conferences (ok, the GB nightly shows are cool too), and I doubt Sony isn’t going to have some sort of stage event in the general proximity of early June. Outside of the games press, this is going to affect nobody else.

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At this rate it’s only a matter of time until Microsoft starts skipping it too, right? And that seems like the smart decision tbh. Why risk the volatility of a live presentation when you can just pre-record a video that you have complete control over? It’s seemed obvious to me for a while that the potential downsides of a bad E3 outweigh the benefits of a good one.

Well, this does not sound a middle finger to E3 and ESA. At least, not to me. The real kicker for me would be a short delay of Last of Us Part 2 to the week of E3 2020 and give the same reason as Uncharted 4: Sony cannot make enough discs.

This has got me thinking back to that solid month of doom & gloom in between the Xbox One’s announcement and E3 2013. Nintendo’s Wii U was a disappointment already and the Xbox One had just become a depressing look into the future of games:

  • No backwards compatibility support (funny how now xbox one is the one with amazing backwards compatibility and PS4 still has none)
  • Bloated with extra features no one wanted (remember when the console came with the Kintect and it would be necessary to even use the xbox)
  • A required constant internet connection (at least once to check in on licenses per 24 hours)
  • Disc-based games being bound to your xbox live account and being not resellable or lendable (essentially meaning you don’t own the games you buy, like digital games)

This was a dark time. I remember talking to a friend of mine and he was pretty deadset on just giving up on playing console games altogether. He planned to just stick with his 3DS and whatever Nintendo did next.

Right up until that Sony Conference, I was kinda with him. I had already bought a Wii U for Pikmin 3 and was just going to, I don’t know, ride this generation out. I never really thought that Sony would come out and not bend to the will of publishers cranky about used games eating into their sales.

But that Sony conference in 2013 was the single most cutthroat conference in E3 history. Even more than the famous “$299” PS1 conference. Sony came out and just went for Microsoft’s jugular.

Like fucking hell this video is still one of the most aggressively hostile things I’ve ever seen a console manufacturer do to another:

A lot of it was just messaging and Sony having the benefit of Microsoft showing their full hand and seeing the reaction to it. But, honestly, without that massive swing from Microsoft’s much maligned features planned for the Xbox One being doubled down on that morning to the just knockout punch Sony landed that night, I doubt this generation would have been the same. Seven years later and some people only tangentially interested in games STILL think the Xbox One requires you to be online.

Without those two conferences at E3 and Microsoft just being grilled for the next few days of the conference (with great missteps like “If you don’t have an internet connection, we have a product for you called the Xbox 360”), I don’t think Microsoft would have backpedaled so extensively on their policies so quickly, before and after launch.

Now, I don’t really think there is the same doom and gloom here. Nintendo is a fantastic place going forward, Sony has already announced that PS4 games will be backwards compatible, and Microsoft is trying to win back the people who fled the 360 for the PS4 last generation, so they’re going to try to be as appealing as possible.

But seeing that Sony won’t be there just kind of tells you how much has changed in seven years. Seven years ago they used that stage to completely changed the trajectory of the industry and now it’s not even worth it for them to show up. It just… makes me feel… apprehensive? Like are we losing something by having E3 die? I mean, 95% of me says no for many of the reasons stated here, but the other 5% is still thinking that, without E3 2013, console gaming would look so much different.

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Phil Spencer is on the board of directors of the ESA iirc, so I dunno how much further away from E3 they’ll get outside of moving across the street.

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