Sony just announced that it would not be showing up at next year’s E3, nor would it be holding a separate show adjacent to E3. Rather, they’re simply and straight-up refusing to participate in any way.
"As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. 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."
Needless to say, this has caught a lot of people off-guard. There were lots of people, myself included, who considered Sony’s showing at this year quite exemplary. If this had been a bad show and they wanted to take a break, that would make sense, but to completely divorce yourself from E3 after a good year…? It’s strange.
As for what will follow, since I doubt Sony will be abdicating from hype-mongering entirely, is up for anyone to guess. Sony canceled the 2018 PlayStation Experience, so I would guess it’s going to come back in style for 2019. They might try the Nintendo thing of hosting “directs” every couple of weeks, although since they’re more publisher than developers that might not work as well for them.
Furthermore, this is a bad sign for E3 itself: while Sony and Nintendo haven’t left the program, Sony – as one of the big three – was a pillar of the program. While the show will likely go on, if another of the big three were to leave (eyeballing Nintendo here), it could very well cause the whole thing to collapse.
Although Sony very well may return for 2020. But then, we’re not in the business of looking THAT far ahead.