Sony has announced that it won't be introducing the world to the upcoming PlayStation 5 at E3 2020. Historically, the Japanese company has used the expo as a launch platform for its consoles, which started with the original PlayStation and the PS2 making their North American debut at the event. Both the PS3 and PS4 had their global unveiling at E3, so having the PS5 forgo the tradition marks a huge shift in the status quo.
The move isn't entirely unexpected however; this will now be the second year in a row that Sony has opted out of E3 in favour of holding its own dedicated events to showcase its new titles. The rationale given for the decision last year was that the keynote had lost some of its clout in recent years, due in some part to the internet, and to Sony's own conferences. February's Destination PlayStation is now a hotbed for the console manufacturer to bring in retailers and discuss the upcoming year, while the proliferation of social media has meant that fans and consumers alike are less dependent on journalists for their news.
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With its strategy involving fewer big games that will be spread out over the course of they year, the timing of the June presser also meant that there wasn't a great deal for Sony to present, explained then-Sony boss Shawn Layden.
Sony released a statement in relation to this year's impending no-show, with the onus being on multiple events that would be fan-oriented, rather than an industry-only affair.
"After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020," said a Sony spokesperson. "We have great respect for the ESA [Entertainment Software Association] as an organisation, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year.
"We will build upon our global events strategy in 2020 by participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe. Our focus is on making sure fans feel part of the PlayStation family and have access to play their favourite content. We have a fantastic line up of titles coming to PlayStation 4, and with the upcoming launch of PlayStation 5, we are truly looking forward to a year of celebration with our fans."
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This means that right now, the PS5 will remain shrouded in mystery until Sony whips it out at one of any number of events throughout the year. The annual assurance of a fixed date to drop key details has been replaced with an element of surprise, although we do already know about a couple of features, like its backwards compatibility and the incorporation of a super speed SSD .
It's a strong new strategy for Sony, as buzz around the PS5 has made for somewhat of a captive audience. Fans will tune in to the reveal wherever and whenever the company chooses to have it. And what's more, it won't have to share headlines with competitors or get drowned out in the barrage of news that will come spilling out of E3.
The pressure is on for the ESA to turn its show around before more publishers follow in the footsteps of Nintendo and Sony.
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