Sony is skipping E3. Here's why that's a mistake

Commentary: This isn't a smart move when you're launching a new console.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
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Oscar Gonzalez
2 min read

Don't expect to see the PS5 in action at E3 this year. 

Josh Miller/CNET

For the second year in a row, Sony will skip the world's biggest gaming event, E3. Not attending the tradeshow in 2018 made sense. The company didn't have much to show. But skipping it this year when it's got the PlayStation 5 to show off, that's a mistake. 

Our sister site GameSpot has a counter-argument in support of Sony's decision. 

Sony will not participate in E3 2020 taking place in Los Angeles this June because the event isn't the "right venue," a spokesperson said Monday. This means the PlayStation maker will likely conduct its own event, or events, this year for the upcoming PS5. This may seem like a smart move, but it's filled with hubris, something a company doesn't want to have when launching a new console. 

The key reason why this is a bad move for Sony is that E3 now becomes the Xbox show. Nintendo could make a bold move, possibly showing off a new version of its Switch, but more than likely  Microsoft will dominate the event with its Xbox Series X. Yes, Sony can hold its own event as it did in 2013 to show off the PS4 yet it still went to E3 that year. Microsoft also had its own independent show that same year to show off the Xbox One so having a separate event doesn't give one company an advantage over the other.

Let's not forget, it was E3 2013 that kicked off the PS4's dominance over the Xbox One. That year, Microsoft came into E3 following the initial Xbox One reveal facing big questions about how the console would handle used games and peoples' game libraries. At its press conference, Microsoft showed off the console's entertainment options instead of its gaming features -- leaving many questions unanswered. Then Sony dropped the mic on Microsoft.

Sony's presser at E3 2013 focused on games, answered all the questions people may have had about the PS4 and mocked the Xbox One by providing clear answers on used games. Sony won the console war right there at E3 before its console even came out. It was reminiscent of E3 back in 1995, when Steve Race, at the time Sony Computer Entertainment of America president, took the stage to simply utter "299," which was the launch price of the original PlayStation underselling Sega's $399 Saturn. 

You can only get the kind of attention needed to win a console war before it even starts at an event like E3. Naysayers may continue to call the show tiresome and boring, but they'll still watch the press conferences in June and rant about what they saw on social media. This time around, however, they're going to be mainly talking about Microsoft and the new Xbox.