Late last year, Sony announced that it would not attend E3 2019 (or for that matter E3 in general). The company never gave a clear reason as to why it wasn’t going to the big games expo event until now. In a recent interview featuring Sony Executive, Shawn Layden, he explains the reason behind said move.
If you recall correctly, we posted an update on the situation late last year that included the following information from website Game Informer:
“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
In addition to the above, we also found out more information thanks to PlayStation’s senior VP of communications, Jennifer Clark, who confirmed back in 2018 that Sony will not host an upcoming off-site event — outside of E3. You can read the following information right here:
[…] “we will not activate or hold a press conference around E3.” […] “[we are] looking at events as a whole and how we can speak more to our fans and continue to wow them.”
Well, fast-forward to today, and there’s now an interview with publication site CNET that has Layden explaining the situation. The answer to the question that spawned headlines all over the place lies below:
“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.
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. 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.
So the trade show became a trade show without a lot of trade activity. The world has changed, but E3 hasn’t necessarily changed with it.
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. 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.”
We are progressing the conversation about, how do we transform E3 to be more relevant? Can E3 transition more into a fan festival of gaming, where we don’t gather there to drop the new bomb? Can’t it just be a celebration of games and have panels where we bring game developers closer to fans?”
In short, and according to Layden, he believes that E3 hasn’t grown with the times and its purpose that Sony wanted to utilize it for has lost its impact since dropping the “big bomb” is nulled out by the Internet and online “journalism” and since Sony has changed its method of making games.
Right now, Layden and crew are “progressing the conversation about” how they should transform E3 to be more relevant, if they can turn the expo more into a fan festival of gaming, or if it can be a place to celebrate games and have panels where they bring game developers closer to fans.
Overall, do you buy Layden’s explanation of Sony not attending E3 2019 (or the whole expo in general) or do you think there is more to the story? If you want, you can read the full interview on CNET by hitting up the given link.