For the first time in E3’s history, Sony is skipping the annual big-time gaming show next year. Microsoft, meanwhile, will attend the event. Now, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has shared some insight into why Microsoft remains committed to E3 after its biggest competitor dropped out.
According to Twinfinite, during Microsoft’s Extra Life livestream event, Spencer acknowledged how E3 has changed over the years. E3 began as a very business-focused event that retailers would attend to determine how many games to order for the holidays. That still happens, and E3 remains important for business reasons, but show is now open to the public and overall it’s taken more of a consumer and press focus in recent years. Spencer said Microsoft continues to enjoy and support E3 is because it’s a “celebration” of gaming that helps bring people today.
He admitted that Microsoft could host its own gaming event outside of E3 or a “direct” in the fashion of Nintendo. But Microsoft won’t do that because “it’s an awesome and frankly convenient way for the fans to experience video games. I think we do it because it’s a U.S. celebration in L.A. It’s easy for people in the U.S. to come to one place and just share their love of video games.”
Spencer went on to say that he hopes E3 grows bigger still in the future, while at the same time acknowledging that he also expects the show to change “in some ways” in the future.
In addition to E3, Microsoft recently resurrected its X018 event, holding the show in Mexico City last month where it announced the acquisitions of Obsidian and inXile, among other things. Spencer said in the new livestream that Microsoft is “really happy” with how X018 went, and while he stopped short of confirming a 2019 show, he said, “We want to do it again.”
Explaining its decision to not attend E3 next year, a Sony representative said, “We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
The company added: “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019.”
There won’t be a PlayStation Experience event this year, either.
The major gaming companies–Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo–have all adjusted their E3 plans in recent years. In 2018, Microsoft notably moved nearly its entire presence offsite to the Microsoft Theater, with only Mixer present on the showfloor, while Nintendo has forgone live press conferences in favor of pre-recorded video presentations for the past several years. Sony, too, tried something different with its E3 2018 showing by focusing primarily on four of its upcoming games and presenting them through a “guided experience,” which garnered a mixed reaction from viewers.
While Sony is skipping E3 2019, Microsoft and Nintendo, as well as Ubisoft, Activision, Take-Two, and other notable gaming companies are confirmed to attend the event.
E3 2019 takes place June 11-13. It is notably the final show confirmed for the Los Angeles Convention Center–the venue it has traditionally been held in for much of its history. Former ESA CEO Michael Gallagher had previously said the organization may pursue other options if the LACC does not modernize and upgrade the facility.