We’re more than half a year away from E3 2019, but the drama has already kicked in. Earlier this week, Sony revealed that it won’t be attending the show, the first time that Sony has skipped out on E3 in the show’s 24-year history. Now, Xbox and Nintendo are making lighthearted jabs back.
Immediately following Sony’s announcement, the official Xbox account tweeted a message telling fans that Microsoft couldn’t wait to see fans at the gaming show and kicked off the hashtag #XboxAtE3.
— Xbox (@Xbox) November 15, 2018
Xbox boss Phil Spencer also chimed in on his personal account, talking about how the show is “always a high point of the year.”
A lot to share with fans at E3 2019. Always a high point of the year to witness the industry’s creativity and the energy of the community. https://t.co/Uug2TUpxwI
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) November 15, 2018
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé joined in, calling E3 “an outstanding opportunity for us to share new games and experiences with fans and business partners from across the globe,” in a statement issued by E3 (via Eurogamer). This is especially noteworthy, since Nintendo no longer holds traditional press conferences at E3, but does still hold Nintendo Direct broadcasts during the times that the conference is on and has a considerable physical presence on the show floor.
Neither company mentioned Sony, but the intent of the messages from Microsoft and Nintendo are clear—neither company is backing out.
As for Sony itself, the company hasn’t said much about its reasons for withdrawing, but we can make a few guesses. First of all, Sony has several highly-anticipated games that have been in development for quite a while now, such as Death Stranding and The Last of Us 2, which featured prominently in last year’s show. Since we’ve already seen trailers for those games, the company may not want to push more hype until those games are closer to release.
Secondly, we know that Sony is working on a new console, presumably the PlayStation 5. It could be that Sony is planning to steer clear of E3, then hold its own event at PSX 2019 to announce the details in a more controlled environment. (For further context, Sony didn’t hold a PSX 2018 this year, either, which means the company will have quite a lead up with no major news going in to 2019.)
Whatever Sony has planned, we’ll have to wait and see. And, in the company’s absence, Nintendo, Microsoft, and other large developers like Bethesda will be sure to rush in to fill the space at next year’s E3.