The gaming community had an opportunity to hear Xbox Head Phil Spencer’s plans for E3, especially since Sony will not participate in this year’s event. Now, we finally have an explanation from Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden about why we won’t be seeing Sony at E3 2019 and what’s next on the horizon for this company.
“When we decided to take video games out of CES, back in 1995 during the PlayStation 1 era, E3 served two constituencies: retailers and journalists,” explained Layden when asked why did Sony decide to drop out from E3 this June.
Based on Layden, E3 has lost the point of being a trade show since Sony holds the Destination PlayStation event in February where they invite all retailers to see the offer for the upcoming period. For Sony, February is an ideal time to start making purchasing discussions and deals. On the other hand, June, when E3 is helping, this company considers being too close to holidays and therefore too late to build trade relations with retailers and third-party partners. When it comes to journalists and their involvement in E3, Layden just doesn’t see any point of creating an event to meet the press when everything is made public immediately thanks to the Internet.
Since Sony decided to make fewer games in order to have more time to concentrate on their quality, the company simply sees June as too late time in the year to say anything new. So, based on Layden, E3 needs to evolve and transform in order to be more relevant. Now whether it would be better off as a fan festival with panels like Comic-Con, Layden believes so.
But besides discussion E3 and Sony’s absence from this event, Layden also addressed the ongoing problems some big studios like EA and Bethesda. Namely, Electronic Arts released its highly anticipated Battlefield 5 which was incomplete and missing a battle royale mode. Alternatively, Bethesda’s Fallout 76 was heavily criticized for not being worthy to be considered part of the same franchise. And this is exactly one of the reasons that Sony decided to make fewer games and even delay them if necessary just to assure their high-quality.
“As the exclusive developer for PlayStation, we always have to set the high-water mark, to push the technology further than anyone else,” he said.
Sony’s upcoming releases The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone and Dreams are going to be the high-profile titles for PlayStation 4, and some even believe for the new console PlayStation 5, although Layden didn’t discuss any new devices in this interview. However, what is certain is that Sony will continue to acquire other game studios, something it has in common with Microsoft.
There is no need to say that this year is going to be quite interesting when it comes to the gaming industry. Big companies like Sony, Microsoft, EA, Activision, etc. have to prepare for not only different market, but the one that doesn’t like or allows mistakes that easily anymore. For now, Sony’s plan sounds very rational and it could raise the bar on the quality of gaming, but how will developing fewer games affect company’s revenue and preserve existing consumers, it remains to be seen.