Sony’s Playstation was released December 3, 1994, which is over 23 years ago. In that time, the company has made an appearance every year at E3, the world’s premier gaming trade event. In a startling piece of news, Sony has decided that they will not be attending next year’s trade show!
In a statement to Game Informer, Sony described how instead of showcasing upcoming products at E3 next year, they would be looking for new innovative ways of engaging with the community. Here’s the full statement:
“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.”
When asked whether Sony would steal a move out of EA’s playbook by hosting its own event somewhere near E3, the company responded, “We will not activate or hold a press conference around E3.”
Big name companies pulling out of trade shows and running their own event seems to be a growing trend across multiple industries. Prior to social media, one of the most effective ways to get news of your products out and to generate hype for it was through unveiling it at a major trade show. Times have changed however, and one could argue that social media marketing alone is more than capable of adequately spreading word of an upcoming product.
Look at it this way, Sony is one of the gaming industries’ biggest giants – they can’t go into E3 and rent out a small booth because it just wouldn’t look good. How much does it cost to rent/setup one of the big booths at E3 and other major conventions? You’re talking about easily over 1 million USD, and that doesn’t include other less tangible expenses such as human resources.
We’re nearly in 2019 and Sony clearly evaluated the cost/benefit of promoting products at E3 vs. digital marketing and determined that in today’s society, physically attending trade shows might not warrant the expense.
Several companies host their own major annual events such as EA’s one near E3 and Blizzard’s Blizzcon. Based upon Sony’s statement to Game Informer, it seems like they might be forgoing trade shows altogether. If this is true, they’re essentially moving into uncharted territory: Sony is undertaking a grand experiment that will determine if we’ve really reached the point where promoting games through physical means is no longer necessary.
Featured Image Source: Playstation