Sony will skip E3 again this year, a major blow to the annual video game conference in a year that will also see the release of the next PlayStation. Instead, Sony said today, the corporation will attend “hundreds of events” throughout the year to talk about the next-gen PlayStation 5. (It’s safe to say it will also hold its own events.)
“We have great respect for the [Entertainment Software Association] 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,” a spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz.
Sony was once a regular fixture of E3, with a huge booth on the show floor and an annual press conference full of game and hardware announcements. In 2019, however, Sony skipped the show, saying it wanted to “think differently.” Critics and observers figured that Sony had pulled out because it didn’t have much to show and that it would be back in 2020 to build up buzz for the PlayStation 5, which will be out this fall. But now, it’s become clear that Sony no longer sees value in attending the video game industry’s biggest trade show.
It’s perhaps a sign of the times. Microsoft has also been distancing itself from E3, instead holding Xbox events and interviews at the L.A. Live complex next door, and last year’s E3 felt strangely empty. Last year, E3 also leaked the addresses and phone numbers of thousands of attending journalists.
UPDATE (8:15pm): In a statement posted in response to today’s news, the ESA hyped up the show and promoted their new “activations”—experiential exhibits, they say, although they won’t elaborate.
When asked by Kotaku what kind of precautions they plan to take in the wake of last year’s leak, an ESA spokesperson said they’re overhauling the show’s website:
“ESA is, in partnership with outside cybersecurity experts, taking steps to enhance our data protection practices for E3 registration. We have engaged a new firm to develop and build a new E3 website. To instill confidence in the new website, we plan to engage in robust testing of the new site’s security before its launch. And moving forward, we also will change our practices in order to collect only the minimum information necessary to complete registration of our media attendees.”