E3 is still an exciting show with an unmatched selection of press conferences and video games. But it's an expensive venue, which is why so many companies have moved their events outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The extensive EA play event takes place, for example, at the Hollywood Palladium. The Xbox Experience with a focus on fans can be seen in the Microsoft Theater, while the stream-centered mixer Dome is in the LA Live complex. Devolver has long used a parking lot to showcase its indie goods.
In short, you can be part of E3 without being in E3. Sony did this last year by hosting its annual Days of Play sale that same week. It also benefited every time a cross-platform title or a PS4 exclusive console title ̵
Some companies have also recorded recorded press conferences. For years, Nintendo has been supplementing its huge E3 booth with a snappy, direct-style video that is filled with trailers and silly skits, for example. Smaller outfits, including Devolver, UploadVR, and Limited Run Games, used a similar format for their E3 2019 conferences. Sony understands the power of this format and has built its own state-of-play live streams outside of E3.
For the creator of PlayStation, there is another obvious downside to participating in E3: a highly competitive spotlight. Press conferences are bundled to ensure that each console maker and publisher has announced their respective games before the doors of the congress open. The crowded schedule means that individual companies have a maximum of a few hours to dominate the headlines and chat on social media. The announcements are of course not forgotten when someone else takes the stage. However, you are temporarily put aside, which is sub-optimal if you are a marketing manager obsessed with words like "reach" and "engagement".
E3 does not have the best reputation either. The show was opened to the public in 2017 and immediately branded as a "mixed bag". The participants were frustrated by the long waiting times and alarmed by the lax security of the fair, which included neither metal detectors nor bag controls. Two years later, the entertainment software association (ESA), the show's organizer, accidentally released personal information from more than 2,000 journalists and influencers. The trade association has also been criticized for defending loot boxes, but has since announced that Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will soon have to disclose the opportunities behind it.
ESA is planning a major switch for E3, and this may not be the case for Sony's taste. In September last year, a leaked pitch deck announced that the 2020 event would transform into a "Fan, Media, and Influencer Festival". At the heart of the shake are "high-flow pavilions" and "activations" on the floor, which usually means statues and celebrities that fans are likely to photograph and share on social media. On the field, ESA said this could include the LA Lakers playing a basketball video game on the show floor or actors participating in a friendship tournament.
Yesterday a spokesman for Sony Interactive Entertainment said about Gamesindustry.biz : "We have great respect for ESA as an organization, but we do not believe that the vision of E3 2020 is the right place for that what we're focusing on this year. " It is currently not clear which part of the "Vision" Sony disagrees with. However, the company has experimented with press conferences that feel more intimate, professional, and prestigious. At E3 2018, for example, some smaller rooms were selected to unpack blockbuster games such as Death Stranding Ghosts of Tsushima and The Last of Us: Part II.
It is also possible that the timing of E3 for Sony makes no sense this year. Seven years ago, the company experimented with an introductory event that focused on the architecture and software features of the PS4, rather than exciting introductory titles. Then the price and form factor of the console and a number of games were displayed with E3, including Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 . The video game industry has evolved since then, and Sony could consider another double strike for the PlayStation 5 (or a double hit if you count the PS5 logo reveal at CES). 19659002] Is it important for Sony to skip E3 again? It depends on whom you ask.
It is a heavy blow for ESA. The show loses a tentpole company that draws visitors and industry interest. Sony's farewell could also encourage other console manufacturers and publishers to do the same. It matters for the players. Some will feel that Sony's absence shortens her favorite time of the year. However, the announcements will not go away completely – they will only be made at a different time or place. A special event also gives fans more opportunities to get excited before the PS5 starts.
Our team is working intensively on E3 and is looking forward to sharing with everyone who loves to play what lies ahead. Our art form was consistently driven by the cross-section of creativity and technical progress. 2020 is a milestone on this path for Team Xbox. # XboxE3 # E32020
– Phil Spencer (@ XboxP3) January 14, 2020
The move makes perfect sense for Sony. Other platform owners are also likely to welcome the decision as they have more leeway at E3. Microsoft is launching its own console this year and will no doubt benefit from the additional attention in Los Angeles. "Our team is working hard on E3," tweeted Xbox boss Phil Spencer . "We look forward to sharing with everyone who loves playing what lies ahead. Our art form has been consistently driven by the cross-section of creativity and technological advancement. 2020 is a milestone on this path for Team Xbox."
There is no doubt that Sony's non-attendance at E3 will be felt this year. But for the PlayStation powerhouse, it only makes sense for business.