Why wasn't Sony PlayStation at E3 2019?

E3 2019 marks the first time Sony has skipped the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 24 years. But why?


Sony surprised many gamers when it announced that the PlayStation brand would not be participating at E3 2019. For the first time in over two decades, one of the three biggest video game console manufacturers decided to opt out of the Electronic Entertainment Expo entirely, leaving the showroom floor open to the folks at Nintendo and Microsoft. So why did Sony skip E3 2019? That's what we're here to examine.

Why did Sony skip E3 2019?

First things first: Sony has not really specified why it didn't go to E3 2019. Prior to the show, the company stated it was looking for more "inventive opportunities" to connect with PlayStation fans — presumably opportunities more inventive than E3 will allow. Here's the full statement:

"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.”

Needless to say, that answer doesn't give us much to go on. However, there are several interesting reasons why Sony may have chosen not to go to E3 2019, and most of them are fairly clear-cut.

Why go to E3 at all?

The first and most obvious notion is not to ask why Sony wasn't there, but why Sony would go there to begin with. After all, the company has pulled out a massive lead in hardware sales for this current console generation. Until it has something huge to announce otherwise, there seems to be little point in putting forth all the time, effort, and money needed to fluff itself up at the Los Angeles Convention Center. After all, it's not like Sony is an unknown entity in the consumer electronics industry.

Publishers have it covered

With that in mind, it's worth considering what E3 presentations usually showcase: Video games. Sony does develop a few games in-house, but most of the biggest releases are created by third-party developers who may have individual showcases on the E3 floor. Even then, a lot of those games are featured under the umbrella of their respective publishers, such as the number of PS4 games shown off this year by Ubisoft and Square Enix. There's no real need for Sony to show off new games if they're being heralded by the developers or publishers themselves.

Cut out the middle man

The biggest reason is perhaps one of the most difficult to admit: Times are changing. In an age where new information can be live streamed to just about any internet-connected device in the world, what point is there to creating a huge, local spectacle? At best, only a tiny fraction of the global gaming audience can attend, while the others have to catch the news from home. Sony's move effectively cuts out the middle man, allowing the company to break chains with tradition and present new reveals as it likes.

If anything, the biggest takeaway is that Sony and its many fans will be fine without an E3 showcase. The Electronic Entertainment Expo can clearly still exist without Sony, and PlayStation fans aren't any worse off when Sony is not there. News, trailers, reveals, and more are all coming in at the usual pace, just not at a time, date, and location specified by anyone outside of the PlayStation banner.

We missed Sony at E3 2019, but that's not to say the company will be missed. After all, PlayStation as a brand is still going strong, and most of the biggest game reveals from this year's exposition were still made available through the efforts of outside publishers. Time will tell if Sony opts out of E3 entirely, but going by this year's presentation, not too much is different now that PlayStation has moved on.

Guides Editor

Kevin Tucker is a core component of Shacknews' powerful guide development team. For questions, concerns, tips, or to share constructive criticism, he can be reached on Twitter @dukeofgnar or through e-mail at kevin.tucker@shacknews.com.

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