If you are a fan of the big, splashy press conferences at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, then 2019 might be a disappointment. As was announced in November, Sony will not participate in the E3 2019 press conferences. Sony marks the first of the Big 3 platforms to not participate this year, but will not be the only ones sitting it out. This week, EA announced that they, too, will skip their traditional E3 press conference in favor of smaller, online-only streams. It will also continue to hold its EA Play fan festival, which started in 2016 in LA.
This move follows in Nintendo's footsteps, who transitioned from their splashy press event to a series of livestreams in 2013, and is expected to continue that behavior this year. This move makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons. The first, and likely most important, is the fact that the majority of people who are truly interested in the news from the companies will be watching the streams of the press conferences anyway. The "breaking news" from those in the room is almost non-existent. When you factor in the almost complete lack of internet access in the room for the media representatives, it is easier to get the news from the stream.
Another big factor in Sony's decision is the growing lack of interest in the expo itself. Gaming companies have been taking their big announcements away from E3 and using individual, brand-focused events, instead. For example, EA themselves announced and launched Apex Legends, their Fortnite competitor, without the help of any expo or conference. Instead, they sprung it on the market with little to no warning. Microsoft launched the adaptive controller and Halo arcade game shortly before E3 2018.
We have been seeing the decline in E3 interest for a number of years. In fact, the overall interest in coverage has been so low that we stopped covering the event almost entirely in 2013. With the change in the industry, it would not be surprising to see the event disappear entirely in the next few years.