Sony has made the surprising decision to drop out of 2019’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. The group behind E3, the Entertainment Software Association, confirmed today that Sony has decided to skip E3 entirely. Neither Sony nor the Entertainment Software Association has released the reasons behind Sony’s departure, but the decision could have dire consequences for E3’s future.
Sony’s E3 2018 presentation was fairly minimalist, as it focused on only a few of their games. Three of the games they focused on—Death Stranding, The Last of Us II, and Ghosts of Tsushima—still have not been given an official release date. It’s possible that Sony is focusing their efforts on these three titles in 2019 and, therefore, won’t bother making an E3 presentation focusing on the same games from 2018. Still, it is surprising that Sony won’t have so much as a booth at E3 to show off their upcoming titles.
This decision will no doubt be a massive blow to E3. EA and Microsoft both held their conferences off-site last year, and Nintendo continued its tradition of releasing pre-recorded Nintendo Directs online. Sony’s absence at E3 will cause not only a gap in presentation time, but it will create a literal gap in the conference. Sony previously occupied a huge part of one of E3’s two convention halls, meaning that E3 will have a huge task ahead of them to fill in Sony’s former territory.
It remains to be seen if Sony will release an online E3 presentation like Nintendo, but considering that Sony also canceled 2018’s PlayStation Experience, it could be that Sony is dropping out of big press conferences entirely. Only time will tell how Sony moves forward. But with all of these companies pulling out, E3’s future looks daunting.