PlayStation made headlines in 2019 when it announced it would bow out of the E3 Expo. E3 is the video game industry’s biggest event, a concentrated blast of marketing and hype that informs the future shape of the industry.
Many wondered if PlayStation would return to E3 in 2020. Given that the launch of the PlayStation 5 is only 11 months away, coming back would have made sense. That hope is out the window now, with PlayStation parent company Sony confirming to Gamesindustry.biz that they will not be returning to E3 this year.
It was assumed that the biggest factor in PlayStation’s departure was a desire to run fan-driven events of their own. A quote from a spokesperson to Gamesindustry.biz appears to confirm this. “We will build upon our global events strategy in 2020 by participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe.,” reads the quote. “Our focus is on making sure fans feel part of the PlayStation family and have access to play their favorite content.”
Of course, PlayStation is not the first publisher to dump E3 in favour of hosting their own party. Electronic Arts bowed out of E3 in 2016, hosting a new influencer-driven event in West Hollywood called EA Play. Having experimented with similar PlayStation Experience events around the world, it’s easy to see Sony moving into a similar rhythm.
PlayStation has also adopted an interstitial online video strategy for new announcements that echoes the wildly popular Nintendo Direct series. Broadcasting their messaging online has allowed Sony to cut out middle-men like E3 and go directly to their core audience without the cost of a huge West Hall booth in the Los Angeles Convention Centre.
E3 2020 will hit the Los Angeles Convention Centre, sans Sony, from June 9-11, 2020.