For the second year in a row, Sony won’t be attending E3, though Microsoft plans on a strong showing at this summer’s big expo.
Sony issued a statement to IGN yesterday stating what seems like creative differences between the Entertainment Software Association’s plans to engage fans and Sony’s engagement goals. It reads:
After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020. We have great respect for the ESA as an organization, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year.
We will build upon our global events strategy in 2020 by participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe. Our focus is on making sure fans feel part of the PlayStation family and have access to play their favorite content.
It’s an interesting statement for a few reasons. One of those is the ESA’s vision for the expo. Shortly after Sony issued its statement, the ESA responded with its own, seemingly meant to reassure attendees (and investors) that Sony’s no-show won’t spell disaster. E3, it says, will be:
… an exciting, high-energy show featuring new experiences, partners, exhibitor spaces, activations, and programming that will entertain new and veteran attendees alike.
We aren’t really sure what an “activation” is, but the ESA appears to be shifting the show over to focus more on influencers and one-time experiences solely for attendees, while Sony wants to get its software into as many hands as possible.
According to Xbox head Phil Spencer, though, Microsoft sees it differently. E3’s new approach is the ideal way to showcase Xbox’s new mix of creativity and technological prowess, and Xbox will be there for sure.
Our team is hard at work on E3, we look forward to sharing with all who love to play what’s ahead for us. Our artform has consistently been propelled by the cross-section of creativity and technical progress. 2020 is a milestone year in that journey for Team Xbox. #XboxE3 #E32020
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 14, 2020
It looks like we might see Sony continue to adopt a Nintendo-like approach to information delivery and engagement. State of Play negates the need for big expositions to deliver information and removes the risk of competition overshadowing announcements.
More importantly, if the PlayStation 5 is going to focus more on experience-driven gameplay over hardware specs, as Sony CEO Jim Ryan suggests, then this move makes sense.
Either way, it’s plain the games industry is in its usual state of flux as we near the dawn of the new console generation. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and E3 2020 news as it develops.