Shawn Layden, chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, has shed a little more light on Sony’s decision to not attend E3 in 2019.
In a recent interview with CNET, Layden explained that June isn’t as important a time for Sony as it used to be when the company started attending E3 due to the Destination PlayStation event and 24/7 news.
“When we decided to take video games out of CES, back in 1995 during the PlayStation 1 era, E3 served two constituencies: retailers and journalists,” he said. “Retailers would come in — you’d see a guy come in, and he’d say, “I’m from Sears, and I handle Hot Wheels, Barbie, VHS and video games. So what are you about?” There was a huge educational component. Then you had journalists who had magazines and lead time and jockeying for position on the cover. And there was no internet to speak of. So a trade show at that time of year for this nascent industry was exactly what we needed to do.
“Now we have an event in February called Destination PlayStation, where we bring all retailers and third-party partners to come hear the story for the year,” Layden continued. “They’re making purchasing discussions in February. June, now, is just too late to have a Christmas holiday discussion with retailers. So retail has really dropped off. And journalists now, with the internet and the fact that 24/7 there is game news, it’s lost its impact around that.”
Sony’s choice to do fewer, bigger games has also played a part in the decision to miss the show this year, as there won’t be much to say about its upcoming titles in June.
“And with our decision to do fewer games — bigger games — over longer periods of time, we got to a point where June of 2019 was not a time for us to have a new thing to say,” he added. “And we feel like if we ring the bell and people show up here in force, people have expectation “Oh, they’re going to tell us something.”
Despite Sony skipping E3 2019, both Microsoft and Nintendo will retain their presence at the show, with the former promising that it is going to “be as big at E3” as it has ever been.