They didn’t have to make a press release about it, but it’s not hard to miss that Sony’s isn’t part of the E3 2021 Online Schedule. But why won’t the PlayStation creators not show up for E3 2021, when in fact they should have a lot to show off for their PS5 console? They have a very good reason not to, and it’s a simple answer, really: Sony’s PlayStation State of Play.
Sony PlayStation is skipping E3 for the third year in a row
Well, this isn’t the first time Sony has thought about skipping E3. In fact, this will be the third year in a row that Sony is skipping the giant video game conference. Last year, Sony decided to skip E3 2020 due to the global pandemic. They felt that it wasn’t a good time to be showcasing games while the entire world was going through a crisis. They didn’t think it was tasteful to showcase video games while everyone was still trying to get back up on their feet to live normally once again. And true enough, E3 2020 got canceled for everyone’s safety. However, Sony also mentioned last year that they were skipping E3 because the conference’s “vision” doesn’t align with Sony’s.
In 2019, Sony first announced that it would not be participating in E3. They stated that as the industry continues to evolve, Sony innovates in new ways to engage with the community. That was a turning point for Sony. They also canceled their own annual PlayStation Experience that year. Their replacement for PlayStation Experience is what would eventually be the main reason as to why they’ve been skipping E3 in recent years, including E3 2021.
Why skip E3 2021?
So, what is it this time?
With the PS5’s release in November 2020, fans of the console are expecting to see what’s in store for the future. Not only that, but gamers are also looking forward to seeing more gameplay and updates of highly anticipated titles such as Horizon Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok.
However, since 2019, Sony has launched its semi-regular digital event called State of Play, wherein they showcase gameplay of upcoming titles, announce release dates, and tease their games. Their live broadcasts have become Sony’s main platform for all of their updates. With this strategy, Sony doesn’t have to pay for booths, and they don’t have to compete with everyone else.
Meanwhile, their eternal rivals, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Switch, will have to vie for the attention of everyone else at E3. State of Play talks to a captured PlayStation market, which ensures that PlayStation will have the complete and utmost attention of its viewers.
While Sony already skipped E3 in 2019, the conference moving to online-only gives more justification to Sony moving away from E3. With their own live broadcasts, what’s the need for E3? Perhaps Sony feels much more strongly about their broadcasts compared to Nintendo, which also has its own version of State of Play. Still, even if Nintendo has their Direct Showcase, they don’t have the same mainstream appeal and market share that PlayStation already enjoys.
So there you have it, State of Play is the primary reason why they don’t join E3 anymore. The PlayStation is popular enough to make them feel confident to bank on State of Play entirely. The PlayStation also has a captured audience that consists of a large part of the market.
Hence, it only makes sense for the company to hedge all of its bets on State of Play when it comes to their big announcements.