I’ll be honest, I had something else lined up for today, but this news was an absolute bombshell so of course, I had to comment on it.
For those who may have missed it yesterday, Sony announced that for the first time in 24 years, the PlayStation brand won’t be at E3 2019. They now join the likes of EA, Activision-Blizzard, and Disney as companies that have left the massive annual event.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment.
Twenty-four hours later and I’m still having trouble processing this. Think of all the console debates, arguments over who had a better E3, and everything else Xbox vs Sony that’s now going by the wayside. PlayStation is leaving a gaping hole in the show and I have no idea who or what is going to fill that void.
So why? What happened that the company decided to make this announcement? Officially, Sony made a statement saying that they were looking for new and innovative ways to engage their community in 2019 and as a result, have decided to not participate in E3 2019. It’s even more stunning when you remember that the company also decided not to hold their own PlayStation Experience event this year either leaving them with currently no mass way to engage their fanbase.
From my perspective, there could be a couple of reasons for this shocking announcement.
- PS5 and Some First Party Games Won’t Be Ready For E3 2019 – Let’s face it, we know that the PS4 is nearing the finish line. Sure, we still have a few previously announced titles like Death Stranding, The Last of Us 2, and Ghost of Tsushima, but those three games still seem to be floating in the wind without dedicated release dates or launch windows for that matter. Sure, we assume they’re locked into a 2019 release, but would any of us be surprised if those games ultimately missed the upcoming year? How about if they transitioned to become launch day/release window exclusives for the PlayStation 5? These games already had a big E3 2018, so how much more could Sony realistically show that would continue to hype the fanbase and not spoil anything? Those games are stunning in their own right and many have already questioned if the now archaic PS4 could handle games like that. As disappointing as that would be to PS4 owners, think of how bonkers and strong of a launch push that would be for the new system. Want to make a splash? A lineup like that would certainly do it.
- Sony will be Hyping Thier Own Content With Dedicated Events – The lone PS4 exclusive with an actual release date is Days Gone, which is currently settled into a comfortable April 2019 launch. You can absolutely bet that Sony will be hyping that game with some sort of event.
How about this theory though: The PS5 is likely closer than we all think. I’m personally betting on a late 2020 launch. That means that 2019 would typically be the hype year for the system, so why would Sony want to share the spotlight with rivals Microsoft and Nintendo? In a Microsoft-ish style move, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony holds a bombastic PS5 event sometime in 2019, one that’s away from all of the bright lights and shared stages of E3. Doing this ensures that every single spotlight and everyone’s attention is focused solely on them.
E3 seems to be entering an interesting time, as one of its core pillars has finally left. Will other companies follow suit? Is E3 dying again? Will smaller, but single company focused events like Microsoft’s recent X018 event become the new norm?
Let me know what you think of this announcement and how you think the future of gaming events will proceed.