Sony Interactive Entertainment, currently riding high on record sales of its PlayStation 4 gaming console, won’t be hosting its annual press conference or showing up at all during next year’s massive E3 expo.
The news was buried inside the Entertainment Software Association’s announcement of the 2019 show that quoted competitors Nintendo and Microsoft. Sony confirmed their absence in a statement to Variety.
“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” according to the statement. “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.”
This will be the first time in E3’s 24-year history that PlayStation will not be attending the event, it is also the second major PlayStation event canceled by the company in recent months.
In September, Shawn Layden, chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, said the company wouldn’t be hosting this year’s PlayStation Experience citing a lack of games to show.
“Now that we have ‘Spiderman’ out the door, we’re looking down in 2019 to games like ‘Dreams’ and ‘Days Gone’ but we wouldn’t have enough to bring people altogether in some location in North America to have that event,” Layden said.”We don’t want to set expectations really high and then not deliver on it.”
PlayStation Experience started four years ago as a celebration for PlayStation’s 20th anniversary as a way to “bring fans together” for a consumer event, according to Layden. The event expanded over the next few years as a place to give news updates. This year, though Layden expressed that “we have a lot of progress that we’re making in our games” but also that there’s not much to share at this point for upcoming titles.
The same could be true for E3 2019, though that does raise concerns about the PlayStation 4 itself and a potential lack of upcoming titles.
The timing also comes just a month after Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed that a successor to the PlayStation 4 is going to happen.
While consoles are traditionally announced at E3, the PlayStation 4’s announcement actually occurred at an event in New York City and Microsoft’s Xbox One was unveiled at the company’s campus.
In general, game consoles are facing stiffer competition from not just the traditional push and pull with the massive PC games market, but a growing mobile game market, which has exceeded $26 billion already in 2018. Kodera also said over the summer that he still sees potential in portable gaming, and thinks it shouldn’t be separated from console gaming but seen as another way to experience gaming. As consumers find ways to game beyond traditional gaming-dedicated hardware, the development of such hardware naturally comes into question.