'The world has changed, but E3 hasn't necessarily changed with it' - Sony's Shawn Layden on why the company is skipping E3 2019

If what he's saying holds up, Sony soon might not be the only ones going off to do their own thing

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • February 11, 2019 at 5:27 p.m. PST

It was back in November of last year that we first caught wind that Sony would not be attending the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2019, which, at the time felt like a somewhat unfathomable happening.

How is it that one of the three giants of video gaming would be skipping the premier trade event for the video game industry? As Bob Dylan once said, "The times they are a-changin'" and Sony feels that E3 just isn't keeping up with those changin' times... at least, not in a way that suits Sony's purposes.

Shawn Layden is the head of the company's 13 development studios, and recently sat down with C|Net to further articulate the motivation behind the major decision to not appear at E3 this coming June.

According to Layden, the reason the company is bowing out of the world's most notable video game trade show is twofold, and revolves around both retailers and journalists.

Back in the day it used to be that E3 would be a time where retailers would come in to set up relationships and strategy with entities such as Sony. Early plans for the coming year could be set up where both sides could lay out what they had to offer, but as Layden shows us, that's not really necessary any longer.

What's more, the middle of the year is no longer early enough to begin preparing for the holiday rush, so relevant processes are being initiated much earlier.

"[W]e 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."

Another major part of this shift is due to the internet, and specifically the way that it allows for a constant flow of any and all news. This is where the journalists come in to the equation.

Journalists would use E3 as a time for massive information rushes. Similar to the retailers, it made more sense to have one time a year where things would get exceptionally hot in the way of news media, and it might be especially alluring for big companies to vie for magazine cover space during this time.

Constant news has really put a damper on this way of doing things, and Sony isn't really feeling a schedule that sees them hold off for all of their major announcements.

"[W]ith 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,'" clarifies Layden.

This isn't a cut and dry "we just don't care about it anymore" kind of scenario, however. Layden does take the time to note that the powers that be are having conversations about how they can help transform E3 into a more relevant entity for today's gaming atmosphere.

Layden spoke on more than just E3 with C|Net, and we highly encourage you to check out the full interview as it also details some of Sony's potential next big moves, the changing landscape of gaming and more.

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