Sony Will Not Attend E3 2020. Thoughts?

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redcream

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#1  Edited By redcream

Source: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/playstation-opts-to-skip-e3-for-second-year-in-a-r/1100-6472704/

"After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020," Sony said. "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."

I don't know if this is the right move for them. I understand skipping last year for not having any games to show but continuing down this road seems off somehow. I still believe in the value of one major bombastic event every year and I still appreciate all the hype that I look forward to June every year. E3 still has clout and reach imo. Although, I think if the value proposition of the Xbox Series X is better (i.e it's more powerful for the same/lower price) then I can see why Sony wouldn't want to be presenting alongside them on the same event. This could give them the chance to adjust things on the fly to be in parity with the Series X.

What even is E3 anymore? Any thoughts?

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Relkin

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I assume they have an event (or series of events) to make up for the lack of coverage come E3 time. It may becoming increasingly irrelevant, but it's still a big event for the industry; one that the world outside pays attention to. Leaving the spotlight all to Microsoft seems like a mistake to me, but what do I know.

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#3 FinalDasa  Moderator

Not too shocked, they don't need an E3 to reveal a console.

Sorta assumed they would be there to show off some games and allow the press to tout them, but I guess they'll do it their own way.

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Brackstone

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#4 Brackstone  Online

I think it's smart to be honest, not planning around a specific date each year gives them flexibility in how they present their stuff to the world. E3 locks you down in a big way, and while third party events are useful for those companies that can't afford to host their own events all the time, Sony's big enough to not need E3. I think it could be a consequence of video games becoming such a big industry, this type of centralized trade show isn't necessary for the big guys any more.

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soimadeanaccount

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PS5 generates enough hype on its own, they don't really need E3.

If Microsoft is going it is a fairly safe bet that there will be XboxSX details announce at that time. Sony can either get ahead of them or go after them and response. Also just because they are not going to E3 proper doesn't mean they can't counter program during the same time frame.

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Rebel_Scum

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Dont think it matters much.

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Nodima

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#7  Edited By Nodima

@brackstone said:

I think it's smart to be honest, not planning around a specific date each year gives them flexibility in how they present their stuff to the world. E3 locks you down in a big way, and while third party events are useful for those companies that can't afford to host their own events all the time, Sony's big enough to not need E3. I think it could be a consequence of video games becoming such a big industry, this type of centralized trade show isn't necessary for the big guys any more.

I can understand this perspective, but I also don't think it's fully aware of the other entertainment industries. Particularly films, which for better or worse games will always be compared to, they throw the red carpet out for commentators and critics to an insane degree this time of year. All the Sony parties Jeff references from bygone days are still happening in the film world, and maybe that's driven by a more physically attractive clientele and - more pointedly - predatory business model, but all the movie podcasts I've listened to over the past two months constantly point out how Taron Edgerton is at every TCA, HFPA, AMPA party he can possibly attend as well as the usual press junket stuff.

There's something to be said about how old that industry is and how resistant to change it may be, but where video game companies are pulling out of their big industry extravaganzas, other entertainment industries are leaning even more heavily into them as a way to validate their creations / expenses. Sometimes I find myself wondering why the video game industry - both on the corporate and press side - doesn't want to cater to this kind of content mill, because as a fan of films I have to say I really enjoy this two month stretch where every movie is rated and evaluated not just on paper, but on stage in front of a live audience. Or at the very least I hear / read favorite voices reconsider devisive films like The Souvenir, or really make a case for The Farewell.

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MachoFantastico

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I just won a bet. I bet a mate that Sony wouldn't do E3 in 2020.

Not surprised, last year showed that Sony didn't need to do E3 and even with a new console coming they'll just do their own events. Don't get me wrong, I love the whole excitement and vibe around E3 but it's pretty clear these days that it's becoming less useful to the industry as a whole. Wouldn't be shocked if Microsoft decide to not do E3 one of these years.

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Alias

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I doubt they'll be at E3 again

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Rahf

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If what you want is to market the PS5 to existing players, it feels like the right move. If, however, you're looking to keep growing the player base this may bite them in the back. E3 isn't just games press, but the one event where global media in general focus their eyes on the games industry.

It's a good way to control the future message, as Sony can selectively invite a collection of vetted influencers and media outlets to achieve a wide reach. It's also entirely possible mainstream media will chase this themselves.

How will it find new audiences?

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PhilipDuck

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Enjoy E3 and the news heavy week it brings, also looking forward to what MS show at E3 this year but it is true that Sony just don't need to attend. Publishers can show off games which will be on the Ps5 and Sony can show off their exclusives on their own time.

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#12 Brackstone  Online

@nodima said:
@brackstone said:

I think it's smart to be honest, not planning around a specific date each year gives them flexibility in how they present their stuff to the world. E3 locks you down in a big way, and while third party events are useful for those companies that can't afford to host their own events all the time, Sony's big enough to not need E3. I think it could be a consequence of video games becoming such a big industry, this type of centralized trade show isn't necessary for the big guys any more.

I can understand this perspective, but I also don't think it's fully aware of the other entertainment industries. Particularly films, which for better or worse games will always be compared to, they throw the red carpet out for commentators and critics to an insane degree this time of year. All the Sony parties Jeff references from bygone days are still happening in the film world, and maybe that's driven by a more physically attractive clientele and - more pointedly - predatory business model, but all the movie podcasts I've listened to over the past two months constantly point out how Taron Edgerton is at every TCA, HFPA, AMPA party he can possibly attend as well as the usual press junket stuff.

There's something to be said about how old that industry is and how resistant to change it may be, but where video game companies are pulling out of their big industry extravaganzas, other entertainment industries are leaning even more heavily into them as a way to validate their creations / expenses. Sometimes I find myself wondering why the video game industry - both on the corporate and press side - doesn't want to cater to this kind of content mill, because as a fan of films I have to say I really enjoy this two month stretch where every movie is rated and evaluated not just on paper, but on stage in front of a live audience. Or at the very least I hear / read favorite voices reconsider devisive films like The Souvenir, or really make a case for The Farewell.

I think there are perhaps too many differences between the film and video game industries to draw comparison between stuff like E3 and film festivals and awards ceremonies. The types of products displayed (mass market vs niche interest), the audience of the event (industry/critics vs public), and the state of the products displayed (finished vs unfinished). Even the nature of who the marketing is meant to benefit at such events is different. For video games, it's all about sales from consumers. For movies, the awards shows and film festivals are partly about raw sales to the public, partly about getting publishing/distribution deals for unreleased films and partly about getting awards for the mantelpieces of various industry folks to justify their wages. Those unreleased films looking for publishers and distribution deals are closer to indie games than big AAA releases. Something comparable to a big tentpole AAA release like Avengers: Endgame wasn't on the film festival circuit.

Also, all those private events still exist for video games, they are just even more hyper specific. I think it was just last year that the Bombcast had some British Gamespot folks on and they talked about being flown out to France for a fancy World of Tanks event. All those private things still happen, but they happen for individual games. A year ago EA flew out a bunch of streamers to play Apex Legends pre-release, for example. The difference is, the entire games industry doesn't need to all gather in one place to be seen any more, just like the film industry doesn't need to gather in one place to get recognized in the media.

Within the scope of their respective industries, E3 was far bigger than anything that exists for film, it's as if there was a film festival for all the big blockbuster and tentpole releases of a year. It seems more like a relic of a smaller niche industry that has stuck around after it had grown mainstream. Whether it's a change in how people receive news or an industry that has grown into the mainstream, video games don't need to put all their eggs in one basket to get noticed any more.

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SloppyDetective

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I was disappointed to hear this news as I still like the pomp of E3 and wanted to see how Sony and Microsoft go head to head. As far as if it is a smart move by Sony, I don't know. Someone mentioned it will hurt them in bringing in new players and I can kind of get behind that idea, but at the same time they still have months between E3 and the holidays to get the word out to a broader audience, and (again as someone else mentioned) they can then react to whatever Microsoft says at E3 - assuming Sony reveals the majority of their details after E3 and not before.

The bigger question is does Jeff Bakalar go to E3 this year? The answer is probably yes cuz of the Xbox...but will all those teraflops be enough to entice our pale friend to go to sunny Los Angeles?

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BigSocrates

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As the market leader Sony doesn't need E3. Anyone who might be interested in a video game console knows what PlayStation is and Sony has a lot of ways of selling its games to its audience to the point where it just doesn't need E3 at all.

The one area where I think this could legitimately hurt Sony is in third party relations. The console manufacturers' E3 shows are where a lot of third parties, especially smaller ones, like to reveal their games, while plenty of people are watching and where they don't need to do their own expensive press conference. Microsoft is now the only game in town for next-gen reveals during E3, and can probably use that to build relationships and maybe lock in some benefits like Xbox specific DLC or at least co-branding deals. Sony probably feels like PS4 being so much bigger than Xbox means that these games will still want to do co-marketing with PlayStation (and maybe even be revealed as PS only events) and they may be right, but it hurts a little at the margins and if PS5 stumbles vs XBSX or if they get off on even footing it might change things.

I do think Sony knows what it's doing though. It's trying to say that PlayStation is bigger than the rest of the games industry and different from it. It's trying to build on its market leadership and extend it. Will it work in the long term? I don't think so. PlayStation isn't THAT dominant, especially when you factor in PC and Nintendo, and historically it's hard to maintain dominance for more than a couple generations, but it probably won't hurt in the long term either. E3 just isn't that valuable these days when so much gaming news is out there and so many buying decisions are made by working with influencers rather than traditional advertising.

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gkhan

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I get the "Sony doesn't need E3" point, but I'm still very surprised. It's INCREDIBLY important to Sony that more people buy PS5's than Xbox Series X's at the end of the year, and I would have expected them to grab every marketing opportunity they could possibly go after. This is not the time to be stingy with marketing budgets: if you can get a head-start at the beginning of console cycle, you have an incredible advantage. Go to E3, go to PAX, go to GamesCom and TGC, go to whatever gaming convention will have you and just blow money out your ass marketing how awesome your console is. I would have expected Sony to go to E3 at least this year for that, but apparently not.

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#16  Edited By MrGreenMan

Didn't they have a bunch of client information stolen last year, yet again.

Honestly, E3 to me has been a joke, showing fake trailers to a game to be announced not to come out for years latter. They have slowly been dying as it is, and the way everything is streamed and big box stores dying, it makes little to no sense to even make such a lavish production. These consoles are far bigger then E3 that they really do no need an event to sell their gaming box.

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Do any of the major companies need E3 any more? Nintendo figured out awhile ago that they don't need E3. Sony just copied their approach with their State of Plays, and are realizing that they don't need E3. EA does their own event alongside E3. I think E3 is about to be put to bed or become a place for indie games to get some spotlight. It is nice to get a bunch of news at once and make a list of games I'm looking forward to, but I listen to enough video game podcasts and other stuff to stay in touch.

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Casepb

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#18  Edited By Casepb  Online

Like others are saying, what's the point of E3 anymore? Everything just gets leaked days ahead of time now anyway. And then the big 3 have their own events now.

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This sure seems like "market leader gets smug" territory to me. It happened with "$599 US" with the PS3 after the PS2, it happened with MS force-bundling a $100 Kinect with the Xbox One after the 360, and here we are with the PS4 having won this gen starting off the next-gen with a message that it doesn't really need to market itself. I realize E3 isn't as big of a deal as it once was and that Sony can do its own events, but this is still a bit of a middle finger to the industry. Their brand is established at this point, sure, but in terms of optics, it makes Sony feel detached.

It also opens the door for the Xbox Series X to make a splash. MS acquired several studios to produce first-party games, and many are likely to make their debut at E3. Also, now third-party games that may not even be Xbox exclusives will likely prefer being featured on the E3 stage via Xbox than in a separate Sony event. There's definitely value to "association", evidenced by how many PS4s were sold as basically GTA V boxes. I figure Xbox now has an opportunity to do the same, perhaps even with GTA 6.

This is a mistake on Sony's part, IMO. It hands a big stage to Phil Spencer, who's already a pretty likeable dude that has built some goodwill via righting the Xbox ship, to launch MS' new console with fireworks and get that thing off and running. If Sony's showing is largely announcing "hey, we have backwards compatibility now, too" in their own event, I'm not sure that will be a huge announcement. Time will tell, I suppose.

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If the rumors about e3 becoming a more public focused influencer fest are true then I cant say I blame them, they can do a video whenever and the word will still get out. I do get the feeling that old cocky Sony are back though, which isnt a good sign.

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Really, E3 has declined to the point where it can't really claim to be relevant on its own merits unless there is a major scandal like last years email leaks, so I think some of this depends on what Microsoft chooses to do and the timing of some of Sony's announcements.

The two consoles are (rumored) to be shaping up to be so similar that if Sony makes their announcement after Microsoft it's just going to look like "follow-the-leader," particularly if Microsoft goes out and had a really strong presentation. So if Microsoft plans on going to E3 and doing any kind of major presentation about the XSX, then I think Sony really needs to have their own launch conference before E3 and knock it out of the park.

Of course, maybe that's part of their strategy, and Sony wants to see what Microsoft does so they target their reveal to highlight the differences.

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#22 ghost_cat  Online

Honestly, I bet if Sony made its own form of a press conference on TikTok, it would more effective and efficient than going back to E3.

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MonkeyKing1969

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This just seems like how it will go for another year or two. Even without Sony and Ninetndo pulling out 3e was dying. EA has been out for years, Nintendo has been out for years, and Sony left least year; but before that many small publishers were leaving. Sony sin't causing a trend they are just amitting he ESA si spinning ist wheels in a very messy way taht they don't feel like getting associated with.

Perhaps, this is not Sony's or Nintendo's hubris; as this is the ESA's hubris of thinking that their job allowed them to ignore game software makers stances on issues. And, it is not like nobody has noticed, Variety had and expose on the ESA and it wasn't flattering. As you can well imagine US politics had infected the ESA over the past few years. The most chilling part of the Variety article was the K Street Project — an effort by the Republican Party to pressure lobbying firms to hire Republicans to executive positions. Well, that just sounds Orwellian. If I were a multinational corporation, especially one headquartered in another country, I would be stepping out while the ESA sorts itself out.

I think something like e3 still has a function without a doubt, but it sure as shit is not the current e3. I think for all involved it woudl be best to have "media days" and "public days" with more than just the showfloor for the public. Having gone to PAX, FanExpos, and various gaming/nerd conventions I can tell you it the panel discussions, meeting voice actors, seeing artists, meeting podcasters and cosplayers that is the most fun. Having other stuff to see makes the show floor less crowded on the public days. Or maybe the solution is that people like Jeff and other media see the games at preview events a month before and THAT is the media part, then the pubic even is a "curated event" just for fans. And, event where they show floor is made for lots of people to surge into a space and play games, watch trailers and see the blinky lights.

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FacelessVixen

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Eh. Though I don't remember a time when I've decribed a Sony E3 press conference as "lit AF".

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inevpatoria

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This only confirms an idea that's been circled for years—E3 isn't the end-all, be-all showcase for the industry it used to be. Last year wasn't an anomaly. It was the start of a new norm.

There are just so many more, and more effective, ways to connect with audiences in this information climate. E3 isn't worthless, but it's no longer the only tool in the toolbox.

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I miss E3, there is really no excitement being built for games anymore. But with youtube and social media, there are plenty of ways to get direct to consumer advertising now a days.

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#27  Edited By Bonbonetti

To me, these shows have been about two things:

1) a meeting place for gamers, to take part in panels, buy cool stuff, and in general just meet other gamers, i.e. a social event

2) a meeting place for media folk and developers/publishers

The first aspect is still relevant, I've never been to a gaming event but it does seem fun.

The second aspect however, is less relevant today. For two reasons. With youtube and twitch, companies have much more control over how they distribute and show information to consumers and the media. Also, games' journalists are not that important anymore; Youtube and Twitch influencers have much more power than your traditional or typical games' journalist.

One thing that annoys me with the media's coverage of E3, is that each site will publish dozens and dozens of videos, of the exact same games. So you get this huge wave of 5-minute videos everywhere of the same thing, and so many pointless videos like "here's a 10 minute discussion of game we've only seen one minute of gameplay of." The media also does a lousy job of covering Indie and "mid-level" games at these big events.

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Shindig

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3) A chance for media to meet media and discuss what they've seen. I think Jeff's talked about that previously in relation to the judges week.

And I don't think E3's transitioned into that PAX-esque panel format yet. It's still very much a hype train but with fewer carriages.

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I mean, in a world where you can just announce a live stream week of and make big announcements that the media will then report, I can't blame them for skipping e3. E3 isn't the make it or break it situation for them to get word about their console out. It isn't that way for anyone anymore. Hell, at this point Nintendo just plays a recorded direct the same week of e3 and demo's there big release for the upcoming season with maybe a couple small demo's for other upcoming games. I like the presentation of "new games week!" But honestly none of the big players need E3.

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#30  Edited By BladeOfCreation

This is interesting and will be another footnote in the history of E3's demise. It may be interesting for those of us who like to talk about the industry as a whole. But to us as consumers, I'd say this doesn't matter at all.

Sony unveiled the PS4 at their own event in February of the year it came out. It makes no sense for them to go back to revealing their new console at E3. They can own the entire news cycle for a whole week. The type of person who is so plugged in to the hobby that they will buy a PS5 at launch is the same type of person who knows where to go to get info on the PS5 as soon as that info becomes available--and that is the type of person who is so invested in the hobby that they're here, talking about it on a forum about video games.

To the average consumer (the type who isn't an early adopter), I'd say this matters even less than that.

Edit to clarify: I will likely not be an early adopter, and I don't think everyone in this comment section will be. I just mean that the very act of us talking about this on a forum makes us non-average consumers of video games based on our interest level.

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#31  Edited By soimadeanaccount

The whole ESA falling out of vogue I think is an interesting angle also; I think less than ever ESA as a good representation of the industry, and much less the consumers. This might actually be Sony getting ahead of the curve a little, probably not necessary, but it is an interesting stance to take and fit especially well with the quote in the article. Even if they are flipping off the ESA I don't think it is by any means flipping off the industry, nor is it necessarily a bad move. I wonder with them being a Japanese company at the end of the day plays a role as well much like Nintendo.

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Although it may seem strange but this is not unknown practice in other industries - Not to go to a trade shows.

In my industry (Agriculture) all the big 4 tractor companies did not attend the biggest machinery show in the UK. Why because it costs a lot, in the region of £1,000,000 to attend, set up pay staff etc. Also they have no control of the show, why talk to everyone when you can target specific customers/ groups. Also people are going to buy it anyway so it may seem complacent but in reality its just a waste of time and resources to do it.

People may think that E3 is a big thing, and for some it is, but it is obviously not as important as it used to be. Ways to sell your product has changed so much since its inception. I can see it just being a second tear show in a few years time as all the main players find better ways of reaching out to their customers. I just think Sony have come to this realisation earlier than others.

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#33  Edited By PatODay

I don't think it matters much. The people who would have interest in a Sony E3 event will still have interest if Sony hosts their own thing or goes to something like Gamescom or TGS.

I feel like it's reached a point where going and presenting at E3 doesn't have any noticeable impact on console/new hardware sales, so the return isn't justifying the effort/investment.

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glots

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I'd say a shame, because it's one less show to watch together with a GB live stream, but I'm sure they'll do one for when Sony does a State of Play for PS5, so whatever.

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dudeglove

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E3 and the ESA has repeatedly shot itself in the foot especially in the past year. There's little to no surprise that more and more companies don't want to waste time and money sending people out to a show that no one wants to go to any more, especially when the main organizers have a horrendous track record within their own organization and when it's in one of the most expensive cities in the world - and that's before you even get to the avoidable disaster that was the ESA leak of 2019 that caused a class action lawsuit. Times change, but it's important to note that the ESA largely did it to themselves.

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hermes

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As a consumer, I am going to miss E3. It's not like I was attending or I feel bad for the ESA, but I will miss having one week where all the talk about new technology and games was concentrated. Now Sony and Nintendo can have the same conversation on online events spread across the year, which I guess works great for them, but not for me, but kinds of dilutes it for me. I still think it likely they will perform their own show in the surrounding weeks, mostly to piggyback on the sinergy.

As a trade show, I couldn't give less of a crap. Many people here seems to be unaware, but there is another side of E3, the real reason it exists since its very beginning, that consists of representatives and executives of retailers and stores that meet with representative and executive of publishers and manufacturers to sort out numbers of preorders and promotions. It is the place where Microsoft's sales rep would meet with Walmart's management and use the leverage of the hype machine to decide how many thousands of XBox One Series X they will deliver on release date. As such, its effect on me is negligible, and Sony's absence is still surprising, but it only goes to show how little ESA has done to justify its existence as an trade association, specially for companies that operate mainly outside the US.

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#37 FoxDye0089  Online

Sadly this is unsurprising; E3 is no longer the best way to reveal new stuff, too much money and with the ease of just making a youtube video the amount of coverage and exposure you can get is just as good if not better. I still hope for an E3 revival sometime; the days of waking up at 3 to watch game trailers from E3 on loop was magical.

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bmccann42

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Would it surprise anyone if they had a "State of Game" or "Sony Direct" at the end of May with price and details leaving third party developers to announce all their PS5 games throughout E3? That just seems like free advertizing and "activations" or whatever the ESA has been going on about.