E3 is perhaps the most well known of all video game industry events. This massive show has been running for 24 years now, and it’s played host to most major game announcements in that time. In June 2013, Nintendo became the first major publisher to break with tradition and do away with it’s yearly press conference in favor of its Nintendo Direct videos. The move was considered quite controversial at the time, with many wondering what such a move would mean for both the publisher and the biggest gaming show of the year. Fast-forward to five years later and both are seemingly doing fine. Nintendo’s Direct videos have been generally well-received, and E3 is still here. However, now it appears Sony is leaving the show too.
Earlier today, Sony gave a statement regarding their decision to GameInformer. “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” they said. “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.”
The outlet also asked Sony if they would be holding a separate event off-site in a manner similar to EA, but it seems that won’t be the case. Sony simply has no plans to anything at or around E3 in 2019. It’s a decision that’s certainly surprising, but it does make a certain amount of sense all things considered.
Sony already canceled PlayStation Experience 2018 due to not having enough games to show, and their E3 decision could have similar motivation. It’s also true that an E3 press conference isn’t strictly necessary for making major announcements anymore. Nintendo has proven that with their Nintendo Direct and Nintendo Treehouse videos. Even if the publisher decides that a big event is necessary, all they have to do is host their own. They already have PlayStation Experience when they need it; there’s really no reason why they couldn’t do something similar earlier in the year if they wanted to.
Unlike Nintendo, Sony hasn’t yet stated that they intend to abandon yearly E3 press conferences entirely. It may just be that having a big press conference in 2019 doesn’t make sense for them. So worry not, this announcement isn’t the death knell for gaming’s biggest event of the year. Not yet, anyway.