In brief: Although E3 is still an exciting event for many, it has lost a bit of its luster in recent years. This is due in no small part to major companies like EA and Sony opting to pull out of the latest conventions, choosing instead to host their own separate conferences. Sony began this trend by skipping E3 2019, and for better or worse, they'll be doing so again this year.
We reported on rumors of this decision yesterday, but it wasn't until today that Sony officially confirmed it to the world. According to the company, the reason for its latest move is that the "vision" of E3 2020 does not align with its own internal plans.
"After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020," a Sony spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz in a statement. "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."
Although not unprecedented, this news is still somewhat surprising. Sony lost relatively little by skipping E3 last year, but this year, they have the PlayStation 5's release to worry about. By skipping E3 again, Sony is giving up quite a bit of marketing visibility to its chief competitor, Microsoft, who will almost certainly be at the event.
Tens of thousands, if not millions of consumers tune in to watch E3 every year, making it the perfect venue for a company like Sony to reveal its latest major projects. Still, it doesn't seem concerned, and one could argue that Sony (and the PlayStation brand as a whole) is large enough now not to need the help of E3.
At any rate, Sony's spokesperson had a few other interesting quotes to share. "We will build upon our global events strategy in 2020 by participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe," the spokesperson said. "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."
This individual's statement does read a bit like PR fluff, but some useful information can still be gleaned from it. The bit about Sony's plans to participate in "hundreds of consumer events" across the globe is particularly interesting. That statement implies that the company's PS5 marketing plans will be far bigger in scope than E3 alone, but it fails to mention what "events" Sony is planning to become involved with.
Aside from E3, some other notable gaming-oriented trade shows include Gamescom, PAX East, South, and West, Dreamhack, the Tokyo Game Show. It's unclear whether Sony will show up at these events, but we look forward to finding out as 2020 progresses.