The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is a massive gaming convention aimed at showcasing upcoming content from major developers and publishers. With its initial start-up being in 1995, it has continued since with thriving attendance and popularity. Just the mention of E3 within the gaming community is enough to get gamers eagerly anticipating the potential announcements. So why on Earth is Sony not attending E3 2019? Could it be that Sony isn’t able to afford E3, or is this just beginning of the nails that will soon be hammered into E3’s coffin? Interested? Well, let’s get right into it!
Why is Sony not attending?:
Let me start right off the bat by saying that Sony is by no means experiencing financial issues; in fact, the amount of PS4’s they’ve sold is a whopping 2.5 times that of Microsoft’s Xbox One. With a clear landslide victory in this generation’s console wars, there’s no chance that Sony is having money issues. So what could it be then? And why are fans concerned? Well, Sony seems to be going cold turkey on announcements and releases, not only are they not attending E3 they’ve even cancelled their own convention, Playstation Experience (originally planned for this December), despite its four-year uninterrupted run. What could Sony possibly be thinking? I’m glad to inform you that Sony hasn’t gone completely off the rails; however, they seem to be taking a new direction. Recent press announcements suggest the company is going for a different approach regarding both their PR tactics and interaction with their fanbase. An example of a past success they had in varying such tactics was the “Road to Greatness” campaign. The campaign entailed a semi-truck containing VR stations and PS4’s setting up one-day showcases and tryouts, whilst being driven from one state to another across the US. The campaign has worked surprisingly well, with a large amount of support from the fanbase as well as a great amount of exposure to the wonders of VR; and all its motion sickness.
Sony may also be taking a tactical approach to this year and ate simply reserving their IPs for the upcoming year; given the fact they’ve already announced this year’s heavy hitters: Last of Us Part 2, Death Stranding and Ghosts of Tsushima. Business wise it would be nonsensical to suddenly mask over their other announcements with even more announcements, given how that would affect sales. There could also be the other depressing possibility that Sony has run out of IPs, and they just don’t have anything for E3, which is a rather anticlimactic reason. Either way, E3 is quite the expensive and resource demanding convention, so it would be reasonable for Sony to make the cost-effective decision of not turning up to E3, given that they have their own convention in 2019 and pending news of the PS5. There may be happy days for Sony, but that may not be the case for E3. In what seems to be a growing trend, more and more games developers are making their own conventions, with Microsoft, EA and Nintendo being examples of this. Which begs the question, should we be worried about E3?
Is this E3’s curtain call?:
With so many different gaming conventions around, including Gamescon, PAX and Quakecon, how is it possible that E3 is still coping? Even looking at the attendance of the conventions E3 seems to be in the danger zone and not even in a good ‘Archer’ way. With Pax East having an attendance of 80,000+ people and Gamescon raking in the ticket money with 370,000 people, E3 just doesn’t seem to compare with only 69,000 people attending this year’s convention. But that’s the thing, this is E3’s highest attendance yet! So how exactly has E3 stayed afloat for so long? The answer – the legacy and digital domination that E3 holds. Ask any regular gamer which convention they watch to hear the announcements of new games and hands down they’ll say E3. Gamescon may have the numbers, but it occupies a different market that’s focused on providing people with the opportunity to actually play games that are soon to be released, as opposed to revealing games that are going to come out. They occupied such a market simply because E3 has set the gold standard as a platform for the revealing of big titles and IPs. With rising attendance it doesn’t seem like E3 will be experiencing any hardship. Regardless of having their own convention both Nintendo and Microsoft still show up to E3, because it’s that potent as a platform for news coverage. Sony may be missing out but they are saving their top shelf material for later as well as their money. Who knows what will happen to E3 in the coming years, but it’s likely they’ll stick around… as long as there isn’t the improbable disaster that is everyone packing their bags and leaving.