PlayStation counts 'bigger, fewer games' among E3 skip reasoning

Shawn Layden, then President of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, speaking at E3 2017 in Los Angeles, California. ― AFP pic
Shawn Layden, then President of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, speaking at E3 2017 in Los Angeles, California. ― AFP pic

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 13 ― “Bigger, fewer games,” the ability to reach fans, retailers and press at other times, and a lack of big announcements this June are among reasons for Shawn Layden, Chairman of Worldwide Studios at Sony Interactive Entertainment, to have PlayStation skip E3 2019.

At the 2018 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sony's console brand PlayStation focused on an unusually narrow band of four games: Marvel's Spider-Man, God of War, The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima.

Two of those were launched toward the end of the year, leaving The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima in the hopper, though with release dates still unannounced.

Nintendo had already reconfigured its E3 strategy, swapping keynote presentations for show floor livestreams and a major focus on one or two stand-outs. In November, PlayStation went further, saying it would “not participate” in E3 2019.

Talking to CNET, PlayStation games executive Shawn Layden shed further light on that decision, citing the changing nature of the trade, of news distribution, and of PlayStation's own strategy.

“I think we've done a lot over the last three or four years to get us to a place right now where we're building fewer games per year than ever before,” he said, “but we're spending more time, more energy, certainly more money, on making them.”

That led to the point where June 2019 would be a time where PlayStation did not “have a new thing to say,” going hard against expectations should it have a keynote scheduled.

Though Layden did not specify, those expectations could include release information for The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, or the game that lets players make their own games, Dreams, which enjoyed an extremely enthusiastic reception when a beta embrago lifted in January.

Expectations could equally apply to news of PlayStation 4's console successor, previously rumored for reveal in 2019 or 2020.

Two other pillars supporting PlayStation's 25-year E3 presence have also been removed: the need to meed trade and press mid-year.

“Now we have a [retailer] event in February called Destination PlayStation [...] June, now, is just too late to have a Christmas holiday discussion with retailers,” Layden explained, while “24/7 there is game news.”

Instead, he forsees an E3 more like Comic-Con in nature: a “fan festival of gaming,” “a celebration of games,” with panels and the opportunity to “bring game developers closer to fans,” something that E3 has been moving towards anyway, opening to the public in 2017 and holding panel talks under the E3 Coliseum banner in 2018. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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