Sony confirmed that it was once against skipping E3 2020 earlier this week. It didn't come as an immense surprise, but it still spurred plenty of debate. What would it mean for E3 2020? How would it impact the reveal of the PS5? Did Sony even really need an event like E3 in the age of streaming and social media?
For this week's Community Question, we put the question to you, the USgamer readership: Is Sony making the right call by skipping E3 2020? Here's what the staff has to say.
I'm pretty disappointed that Sony won't be at E3 2020. Yes, it saves Sony some money in the short-term, but it might be bad for games in the long run. I remember when E3 tried to scale down a decade ago; it seemed like the sensible call, but it ended up leaving a huge gap in the events calendar and hurting games as a whole. If E3 dies, what will take its place as the games industry's biggest event? The Game Awards?
But that just might be old thinking on my part. In the past decade, Youtube, streaming, and social media have changed how we consume gaming news. Sony can probably do just fine hosting its events while feeding info to mainstream publications like Wired. Still, it's too bad. It would've been fun to ride the growing wave of hype up to the big head-to-head conferences at E3. It won't be quite the same without Sony.
A few years ago, I would've said, "No". You needed E3 for its concentration, bringing together publishers, developers, and media together in a single tent for a few days. E3 was the game buffer that we all drank from deeply, one of the two times of year we got huge announcements. (The other being Tokyo Game Show.)
Is that the case anymore though? Publishers, developers, and platform holders can talk to fans directly. There's no difference between having a Nintendo Direct around E3, versus having a random stage presentation on the E3 showfloor. Sony can announce the PlayStation 5 whenever it wants and the community will consume it wholesale via the internet. It's also no longer the only game in town, with the rise of community-focused shows like PAX, Microsoft's X0 events, and Sony's State of Play. Even the E3 announcement themselves have started to come prior to the event itself. If you market your game right, it'll reach the audience.
Sony doesn't need E3. E3 needs Sony. So Sony isn't making a mistake. E3 has been trending towards a series of discrete events that happen around E3 week, rather than cramming everything onto the showfloor. I expect that will continue, even as the show itself loses its clout.
The ESA's fast and substanceless response to Sony saying it would skip E3 tells me that the event was already somewhat prepared for a Sony no-show and doesn't have a compelling argument for why Sony—or any other large company—should stay. Sony will host its own events and livestreams, as will Microsoft and Nintendo. Other companies will use other high-profile expositions to make big announcements, or try to will their own attention-grabbing moments into being. E3 will likely be declared "dead" by many, and assuming it doesn't actually go away, it'll only swing back towards relevance once it can really offer something that publishers, manufacturers, and developers are convinced they can't get elsewhere.
Eeeeee-yeah. I think so. I think the first Nintendo Direct proved that edited presentation videos are far preferable to dudes talking on stage for half an hour at a time. It's hard to describe, but I feel like E3 is a lumbering beast that can't (or won't) adapt to the sleeker, faster industry we're part of now. The awful info leak from last year trashed journalists' confidence in E3, and I think attendance will be down this year as a consequence. plus Microsoft has its own theatre; it's never coming back to E3's stage. If I was Sony, I'd keep E3 at an arm's length. The once-mighty show that marked the height of game previews and system reveals is ailing. It might recover, and it might not. Either way, I don't expect Sony to come back until E3 gets its you-know-what together.
Probably. Sony doesn't need E3; if anything, E3 needs it. I imagine this spring there will be some sort of big PlayStation 5 unveiling. Maybe over the summer a bigger push for the console and whatever its launch lineup ends up being. The point of the matter is that it doesn't need E3 to share this news. It can keep doing its Nintendo Direct-style State of Plays, or hosting its own live events. Sony will be fine, even if once again we will be down a company for declaring the "winner" of E3.
Photo Credit: Kat Bailey