Yesterday Sony announced that it would not be attending E3 2019. Of course, the internet has been buzzing, and most folks don’t really know what to think or feel. Some people believe Sony is making a mistake by leaving the conference, allowing Microsoft to steal the show by default. Others think it’s a smart move by Sony as their line up would consist of games we’ve already seen at previous events. So what does this really mean? And should we actually care if Sony isn’t at E3?
Crafting The Narrative
Long are the days when Sony or Microsoft needed E3 to announce new games or hardware. Yeah, it’s nice to have everyone under one roof, sharing new information, but it’s not necessary. And one reason why Sony is probably calling it a day is that it doesn’t want to share the spotlight for its next announcement – The PlayStation 5. Why would you want to announce new hardware, or even give a sneak peek at the new device on Monday, when Microsoft would be having their own press conference on Tuesday? It should shift the attention and dilute the message. Sony, like Apple and Google, will probably secure their own day to announce their new product. And it makes sense. All eyes will be on the company and new hardware, giving Sony a chance to create the narrative they want without having to share the spotlight days or hours later.
Old Announcements, New Console
We live in the social media age. An age where stories have a shelf life of about a week. I’m betting Sony is pulling out give time for us to forget all the titles shown in previous press conferences. There’s a solid chance that the games Sony has been showing – Death Stranding, Ghosts of Tsushima, etc. will be the launch titles for the new console. It’s a known fact that consoles must have a strong line up to motivate people to purchase new hardware. And what better way to launch a console than to have titles that have been well received by PlayStation fans available day one. This doesn’t mean the games Sony has promised won’t make it to the PS4, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the games are quietly released on the console. And when the PlayStation 5 is announced, we’ll see these games with the 4K, 60 fps treatment.
E3 and Microsoft – What Now?
So what does that mean for the conference as a whole? I would say it depends on what companies do in 2020. If Sony is taking a break this year for a console announcement the following year, then it’s business as usual. However, if Sony has its hardware announcement outside of E3 than maybe we start having the discussion about E3’s relevance. I think it’s too early to have that conversation about the state of the conference if everyone else will be in attendance this year. However, if everyone else starts pulling out this year then maybe we have a problem.
And where does that leave Microsoft? It’s an unusual place to be because even with a fantastic press conference I’m still going to wonder what Sony has up its sleeve. Maybe that’s part of Sony’s strategy. Even with Sony not attending, the story dominating the conference will be ‘what the hell is Sony up to?’ Microsoft could announce a new console around the same time as the PS5. One scenario is MS continuing their console push, lowering the price of the One X to begin shifting to the new standard as they phase out the Xbox One and One S.
A New Console Commeth
The bottom line is this – Sony has a new console coming, and that’s exciting news. Whether they announce it at E3 or their own stand-alone event, we should get ready for leaks and communication in the coming months. What a time to be alive.