Long before COVID-19 went and shook up the gaming industry, Sony made an interesting decision leading into E3 2019. After spending many years being a staple at the event, it opted to pull out, instead offering to do its own thing leading to the release of the PlayStation 5. But that “own thing” never happened, which many believed would be the return of the PlayStation
Experience event that took place years prior.
Now, with E3 2021 making a comeback in digital form – temporarily, anyway – there are questions as to whether Sony would consider coming back. Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft have all confirmed their involvement with the event, offering reveals and what-not. However, Sony has remained mum.
So the question is – does Sony need to give E3 any consideration? Or can it move forward doing its own thing, as it’s been doing, with its State of Play broadcasts? There are a number of factors to consider, so let’s take a look.
E3 Is A Thing, But Not Everything
While E3 has continuously been the go-to event for gaming news over the course of each year, it has lost a little bit of its thunder well before COVID set in. A leak of information left some journalists jaded over its safety; and then there’s the whole “the show’s going public” logic, which has turned off many. Not to mention notable companies pulling out beforehand, like EA doing its own thing with EA Play, Microsoft hosting an event outside of E3 (with Mixer still being inside at the time of its existence), and Activision minimizing its presence.
With the show going digital, many companies continue to take this stance. Activision hasn’t revealed its plans yet, but it did just come off a digital BlizzCon event earlier this year; Devolver Digital has its own comical thing going on; and, of course, EA will likely hold its own digital EA Play event around the same week, in an effort to draw attention to itself.
That leads to an interesting question – does Sony need E3? On the one hand, it would be great exposure for the company upon returning, being coupled in with other companies and getting solid coverage across the board. But, on the other hand, that means teaming up with other companies, and Sony has proven to do just fine with its State of Play broadcasts. And who knows, maybe it’ll make PlayStation Experience a thing once more after all this COVID business settles down.
Sony left for a reason. More than likely, it was due to the ESA’s poor decisions, not to mention that three days on the show floor equates to about one million dollars in cost – which could easily be reversed into a “host our own thing” sort of event for the same price.
State Of Play Is Gaining Steam
Even though it’s not quite as popular as whenever Nintendo airs a Nintendo Direct special, Sony’s State of Play specials have been doing just fine as of late. The last couple of episodes have featured a number of interesting PlayStation 5 premieres, as well as glimpses of what’s to come in 2021.
Sony could easily continue this status quo leading into the week of E3, with a special State of Play to celebrate the launch of Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, which arrives in June; as well as a special showcase for the Horizon Zero Dawn sequel that’s on the way. And obviously, it could save room for a first look at the new God of War game, Ragnarok, as well, though it won’t likely arrive until sometime in 2022.
So, in that regard, Sony doesn’t necessarily need E3 to succeed. However, it could use the hype and thunder of the event, without being correlated with it, to benefit. All it needs to do is host a special State of Play alongside when the event takes place, and they’ll get every benefit of the E3 hoopla without having to pay the ESA a dime. It just makes sense.
Granted, joining E3 wouldn’t be the worst thing either, but fighting for exposure would feel like an unnecessary measure for a company that’s been taking it upon itself to fight its own way when it comes to game reveals and information. And why change what works?
What do you think? Does Sony need E3, or is it doing just fine on its own?
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