Sony did not attend E3 2019, forgoing both its annual press conference and a presence on the show floor. Activision has also abandoned its spot on the show floor, and other companies have dropped out as well. Xbox boss Phil Spencer says E3 is just not the same without Sony and Activision, and he wants them back.
Appearing on GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb’s livestream at E3, Spencer spoke about the ongoing relevance of E3, and he suggested that the show’s profile is hurt by Sony and Activision not being there. “I wish Sony was here,” Spencer said. “E3 is not as good when they’re not here,” Spencer said about Sony and Activision dropping out of the big annual gaming show.
E3 remains relevant and important to the gaming world, Spencer said. It’s a time in the year when the whole world is watching gaming, and that’s very important today when the industry is coming under criticism and judgment. One recent threat, Spencer said, was the World Health Organization’s designation of Gaming Disorder as a recognized disease.
He said E3 is an important time of year to show the world that gaming is not just kids in a basement. And without juggernauts like Sony and Activision, E3 could take a hit in terms of prominence, Spencer said.
Spencer is on the board of directors at the Entertainment Software Association, the group that runs E3 every year, so he seemingly has a vested interest in seeing the show continue and flourish. Other board members include Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two, and Bethesda owner ZeniMax’s CEO Robert Altman.
Explaining why it didn’t come to E3 this year, Sony said it wanted to “innovate, think differently, and experiment with new ways to delight gamers.” Ahead of the show, it’s shared the first details about its next-generation PlayStation 5. It also showcased Death Stranding, revealing both an extended trailer and its release date. But beyond that, it’s unclear when we’ll next get details about other big first-party PS4 games, such as The Last of Us 2.