Tech

Sony is skipping the world's biggest video game expo for a second year ahead of PS5 launch

Key Points
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment said it won't be attending E3 as it doesn't line up with the company's 2020 strategy.
  • The ESA, which stages E3 every year, said it still expected this year's E3 to be "an exciting, high-energy show."
  • Shortly after Sony's announcement, Microsoft's Phil Spencer said the Xbox team was "hard at work on E3."
Sony Playstation logos are displayed during the Sony Playstation E3 conference at LA Center Studios on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Christian Petersen | Getty Images

Sony won't be going to this year's E3 event in Los Angeles.

The company's PlayStation arm, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), told several industry outlets that it wouldn't be attending the show, which is put on each year by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Sony said the event didn't line up with the company's strategy for 2020.

"After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020. 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," a spokesperson for SIE told The Verge.

"We will build upon our global events strategy in 2020 by participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe. Our focus is on making sure fans feel part of the PlayStation family and have access to play their favorite content. We have a fantastic line up of titles coming to PlayStation 4, and with the upcoming launch of PlayStation 5, we are truly looking forward to a year of celebration with our fans."

The ESA, responding to Sony's decision, said it still expected this year's E3 to be "an exciting, high-energy show featuring new experiences, partners, exhibitor spaces, activations, and programming that will entertain new and veteran attendees alike."

Without delay, Microsoft looked to capitalize on Sony's E3 absence, with Phil Spencer of Microsoft's Xbox team confirming on Twitter that the company would be attending this year's show.

"Our team is hard at work on E3, we look forward to sharing with all who love to play what's ahead for us," Spencer said. "Our artform has consistently been propelled by the cross-section of creativity and technical progress. 2020 is a milestone year in that journey for Team Xbox."

The two tech giants are set to be locked in a battle for gamers' dollars later this year as they both launch their respective next-generation consoles. Microsoft has already revealed the look and some details of its next-gen machine, the aptly-named Xbox Series X, while Sony has released limited information about the upcoming PlayStation 5 (including the logo).

Sony's decision not to show off a console at E3 would mark a significant change in direction for the company. Though it's the second year the firm has decided to give the event a miss, Sony has always used E3 as an opportunity to reveal key details about its new hardware.

E3 is the biggest date in the calendar for gaming enthusiasts, used by major developers and publishers to show off new blockbuster titles. While the big focus this year will no doubt be on the next Xbox console, cloud gaming — which doesn't rely on dedicated hardware — is expected to be another major theme on display.