Sony’s Shawn Layden Explains why PlayStation Will be Missing E3 2019

Late last year, Sony PlayStation released some surprising news: that they would be missing the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3. To say this was a surprise would be an understatement, this was a bombshell that sorta kinda rocked the game industry. For one of the traditional Big 3 to miss E3 for the first time in the show’s 24 year history would previously have been unthinkable. Well, now PlayStation Executive Shawn Layden, in speaking to CNet, has given some details on that decision.

Now we have an event in February called Destination PlayStation, where we bring all retailers and third-party partners to come hear the story for the year. They’re making purchasing discussions in February. June, now, is just too late to have a Christmas holiday discussion with retailers.

So the trade show became a trade show without a lot of trade activity. The world has changed, but E3 hasn’t necessarily changed with it.

And with our decision to do fewer games — bigger games — over longer periods of time, we got to a point where June of 2019 was not a time for us to have a new thing to say. And we feel like if we ring the bell and people show up here in force, people have expectation “Oh, they’re going to tell us something.”

These aren’t necessarily new thoughts and ideas. E3 has been around for nearly 25 years and in that time the show hasn’t evolved much. For years, E3 press conferences felt like they were structured towards shareholders, then they became about hyping up the biggest releases and announcements to come over the next year or two (or longer).

Recently, E3 showcases, as they’re being called now, feel more like YouTube playlists of upcoming game trailers. Layden also gave some short thoughts on how E3 can stay relevant in an ever-changing gaming landscape.

We are progressing the conversation about, how do we transform E3 to be more relevant? Can E3 transition more into a fan festival of gaming, where we don’t gather there to drop the new bomb? Can’t it just be a celebration of games and have panels where we bring game developers closer to fans?
[CNET] Almost like Comic-Con?
Yes, that’s probably the trajectory it needs to go to maintain relevance.

The last Destination PlayStation was back in 2013 when the PlayStation 4 was revealed, so it is interesting that Layden would cite that. Currently, there’s still no word on whether there will be a Destination PlayStation event this year, despite the fact that we’re halfway into February. I, personally, think it is unlikely that a Destination PlayStation will happen this year, although wilder things have happened in this industry. For now, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any news about events that may or may not happen.

In the meantime, why don’t you head over to the forums and we can all talk about this strange decision together. Or hit us up on Twitter using #AskPSNation.

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