Why is Sony skipping E3 again this year?

Hot on the heels of Sony’s reveals at CES 2020, the Japanese tech giant has confirmed they will not be attending E3 in June
E3 eSports gaming zone 2019
E3 2020 is being held 9th-11th June in LA. Image: E3

Sony and E3

E3 2020 runs this year 9th – 11th June 2020 in LA. There is one notable absentee – Sony. This is the second year in a row Sony has declined to attend the expo.

There must be a good reason. E3 is one of the biggest gaming expos held each year. However, this year has a lot of ground to make up if the convention is to retain that standing.

Last year, E3 had just over 66,000 attendees. That is a drop when compared to just over 69,000 in 2018. It is hard to say whether the decrease in attendance is as a result of Sony not attending. Or, whether Sony declined to attend, recognising that the show might be declining in popularity.

This compares with over 17,000 attendees from 160 countries who went to CES this month. It should be noted that CES is a technological innovation event spanning a much broader scope.

E3 is an event for the video game industry. Its actual name is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, abbreviated to E3. And maybe, it’s just not big enough for a corporation like Sony?

Why is Sony snubbing E3?

When Sony declined to attend last year, most of us thought this was simply a case of timing. Now it has happened for a second year running, there definitely seems to be something more behind it.

We reported this morning that Sony is holding an Experience PlayStation event. This runs from today until 16th February 2020 in NYC. Could it be that Sony is planning to stage its own launch events, away from the major tech conventions?

This doesn’t ring true either, seeing as Sony had a big presence at CES in Vegas this month. E3 isn’t until June, so perhaps Sony doesn’t feel they will have anything new to announce between February and June…?

E3 convention
E3 will have 25,000 public access tickets in 2020. Image: E3

E3 – a new direction

I think it is probably a combination of these factors. E3 is still a big show, but perhaps Sony has elected to focus on a smaller number of only the largest tech conventions.

It does seem to jar with Sony’s corporate strategy of ‘getting closer to people’. Sony says:

After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020. We have great respect for the ESA as an organization, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year. We will build upon our global events strategy in 2020 by participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe.

I think this statement is revealing. Sony confirms they expect to exhibit at ‘hundreds’ of consumer events, just not this one.

It may be that Sony aren’t keen on the new direction E3 is taking this year. The E3 2020 pitch reveals a bigger focus on using influencers and celebrities.

In contrast with previous years, E3 is set to become more of a consumer event than an industry expo. ESA has approved an additional 10,000 public attendance tickets, almost double the 15,000 limited access available in 2019.

Whilst ESA might not be best pleased with the news, we know who will be. Xbox now have a clear run at the E3 audience. Without any big consoles being launched or released alongside them, the stage is theirs!

Why do you think Sony might be snubbing E3? Do you think this is a good call? Share with us your thoughts!

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