Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced that Microsoft will showcase the Xbox at E3 2020, following a statement from Sony explaining that it will not make an appearance at the event (via VGC).
Sony skipped out on E3 2019, citing a desire to “innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers.” Former Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden was forthcoming about the dissonance between the industry’s future and the lasting power of E3. “June, now, is just too late to have a Christmas holiday discussion with retailers. So retail has really dropped off,” explained Layden at the time. “And journalists now, with the internet and the fact that 24/7 there is game news, it’s lost its impact around that. So the trade show became a trade show without a lot of trade activity. The world has changed, but E3 hasn’t necessarily changed with it.”
That’s Sony’s perspective, and it is sticking with it for E3 2020. In a statement, the company said it possesses “great respect for the ESA” but clarified that “we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year.” Instead, Sony will show up at “hundreds of consumer events across the globe,” to ensure players “feel part of the PlayStation family and have access to play their favorite content.” Contrastingly, Microsoft has confirmed its plans to attend E3 2020, as announced in a tweet from Xbox boss Phil Spencer.
“Our team is hard at work on E3, we look forward to sharing with all who love to play what’s ahead for us,” said Spencer. “Our artform has consistently been propelled by the cross-section of creativity and technical progress. 2020 is a milestone year in that journey for Team Xbox.” E3 2020 is said to be a departure from the show’s stalwart format, and will rebrand the trade event as a “fan, media, and influencer festival.” To achieve this, the Entertainment Software Association will seek out paid partnerships with influencers, the media, and celebrities to, “create buzz and FOMO.” In a statement reacting to Sony’s announcement regarding E3 2020, the ESA seemed to confirm this change of tack, explaining that “exhibitor interest in our new activations is gaining the attention of brands that view E3 as a key opportunity to connect with video game fans worldwide.”
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