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Feature Article

E3 Is Better With Sony And PlayStation There, Xbox's Phil Spencer Says

Sony, please come back.

While it was not the only company to sit this year's out--Activision also sat out--there was no absence at E3 2019 more significant than that of Sony. With no PlayStation press conference or show floor booth, it was a much different sort of show. Many would argue it was a worse one without them there--and among those saying as much as is Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who says E3 is just not the same without Sony and Activision, and he wants them return in the future.

Appearing on GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb's livestream at E3, Spencer spoke about the ongoing relevance of E3, and he suggested that the show's profile is hurt by Sony and Activision not being there. "I wish Sony was here," Spencer said. "E3 is not as good when they're not here," Spencer said about Sony and Activision dropping out of the big annual gaming show.

E3 remains relevant and important to the gaming world, Spencer said. It's a time in the year when the whole world is watching gaming, and that's very important today when the industry is coming under criticism and judgment. One recent threat, Spencer said, was the World Health Organization's designation of Gaming Disorder as a recognized disease.

He said E3 is an important time of year to show the world that gaming is not just kids in a basement. And without juggernauts like Sony and Activision, E3 could take a hit in terms of prominence, Spencer said.

Spencer is on the board of directors at the Entertainment Software Association, the group that runs E3 every year, so he seemingly has a vested interest in seeing the show continue and flourish. Other board members include Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two, and Bethesda owner ZeniMax's CEO Robert Altman.

E3 2020 dates have already been confirmed, reaffirming that this year's show will not be the last. But where things go from there, as companies increasingly opt to host their own dedicated events, remains to be seen.

Explaining why it didn't come to E3 this year, Sony said it wanted to "innovate, think differently, and experiment with new ways to delight gamers." Ahead of the show, it's shared the first details about its next-generation PlayStation 5. It also showcased Death Stranding, revealing both an extended trailer and its release date. But beyond that, it's unclear when we'll next get details about other big first-party PS4 games, such as The Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima.

More E3 news:

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Eddie Makuch

Bring back the Whalers.

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115 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for just1mohr
Just1MoHr

Well I've got both PS4/XB1, but I only buy the very few great Sony exclusives. BUT they are mostly single player games and get boring quickly & so I just sell them, never any need to pay for PS+. It is hard to play single player for long, when my friends are there daily begging me to play with them multiplayer on XB. XB won me with backwards compatibility and now I have a massive library of games that I collected. And to top it all off, XB lets you stream your PC to your console and I get to play all my retro games & Steam on there too, including Nintendo on my XB1. This is true power and it ends up being the most powerful console in more than one ways for me, very economical for me to treat Sony to 2nd place ya see.

Avatar image for onehitta323
onehitta323

Sony won E3 without even being there. Honorable mentions to Nintendo and Square Enix.

Avatar image for doremonhg9x
doremonhg9x

Wow I thought 7tizz was bad but this PCGamer2019 guy takes the cake utterly and completely smh...

Avatar image for Cashmoney007
Cashmoney007

@doremonhg9x: He seems to love everything that MS does. It is quite disturbing.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

Theres no point in ps going to e3 when all they have is garbage to show. They only did well last gen because of don mattrick, outside of that they suck baws. Xbox and MS are taking over consoles and pc gaming and nobody can stop it

Avatar image for Divisionbell
Divisionbell

@pcgamer2019: Xbox fanboy trashes PS. Hmmm...color me shocked?

Avatar image for ZIMdoom
ZIMdoom

@pcgamer2019: uh.... what???? Clearly you are trolling because so far MS has been doing very poorly in sales. You say Sony only did well “last gen” because whatever, but Sony has been the #1 console maker almost every single gen they’ve been around AND have arguably become the single biggest console maker of all time with every one of the console selling massive numbers. So not sure what you are talking about.

Avatar image for jsprunk
JSprunk

A.) Phil Spencer is an idiot.

B.) Sony's not in business to Make E3 Great Again.

C.) Sony's business strategy toward the PS4 has been stellar this generation. If anything, Phil should be shutting up and learning a thing or two from Sony.

Avatar image for Divisionbell
Divisionbell

@jsprunk: Phil just knows that without Sony there, there really isn’t much to see outside of Nintendo. It’s not like Xbox has much to show.

Avatar image for Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

@jsprunk: business strategy is great for this gen, but they aren’t planning well for the future like MS is. Saying Spencer is an idiot makes you look like an idiot.

Avatar image for jsprunk
JSprunk

@Shantmaster_K: 100% false.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@jsprunk: Spoken like a true fangirl, well done you !! Maybe we could have a D?

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Sony's strategy is to spread out their gaming division news for as long as possible. This was a good move on their part also, and one that could have only been possible with such a massive hardware lead as well as a strong tie-in ratio.

Just about every game at E3 was there to show off their game that is exclusive to PS4 or thats going to be on the ps4. With out being there, Sony was still the 800lb gorilla in the room. Then a couple months after E3 news has quieted down. And before Holiday shelves need filled - Sony will do their own thing for more press coverage, and probably cheaper then paying to be at E3.

To me this is not a good thing, this is a sign of a too lopsided console war, one that needs to be closer for us gaming consumers. Well its a little too late this gen. Xbox and Nin have saturated about as far as they can this gen. One thing both needed was a E3 full of many exclusives, coming soon or coming whenever. Even if they are just in the planning stages. Thank goodness xbox isn't showcasing more LIVE TV streaming or living room media whatever. And Nintendo is showing more then just a handfull of 1rst party preschool games.

I personally would love to see MS Xbox, Nintendo buy up some first party developers and have a strong stable of them ready for 9th gen. A good close console war benefits us gamers more then anything.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@jenovaschilld: Your one of these people who talks like they are all clued up the reality is your a buffoon.

Avatar image for ZIMdoom
ZIMdoom

@jenovaschilld: yeah, as a PS4 and Switch owner, I love how Nintendo does their directs far more than how E3 is handled. The directs always feel like a must watch event and can be customized to act as big new announcements, follow up other announcements with gameplay details or more info, and their E3 presentation was excellent without bothering with filler and crappy scripted banter and flat attempts at humour. It was just 40 minutes of mostly u interrupted games. Sony is attempting this and I think they will find it much more effective than dealing with all the usual noise and nonsense at E3. Cheaper too.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@ZIMdoom: Yeah, tradeshows do not work, magazines are not relevant, even gaming websites are dieing. The gaming industry is doing very well, growing nearly 8% each year. But you gotta get your game in front of the consumers eyes. What is the new media to promote your games- twitch, live streams, youtube videos, or on your phone during a shit? You gotta try.

Avatar image for sticktalker336
Sticktalker336

Sounds like the Joker needing Batman

Avatar image for decadentdescent
DecadentDescent

E3 suffered because of Sony's absence, or did E3 suffer because it was Microsoft centric?

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@decadentdescent: Nobody missed phony , no showing games that are due out in 2054, no anti consumer measures etc etc.

Avatar image for stelios
Stelios

@pcgamer2019: You're like the amalgamation of all fanboys to ever exist into one being.

Avatar image for prinzjeremydoc
PrinzJeremyDoC

Sony is Exclusive, they have top exclusive games and exclusive conferences. They want everyone seeing them as the different and unique than the other as their marketing strategy to increase their product values.

Avatar image for zyxahn
zyxahn

That's cool. E3 should be thought of as an allstar game. They compete against each other all year as they do in sports. But every year they get together to celebrate the best players in their respective leagues. It should be viewed that way imo.

Avatar image for hiphipjorge9
hiphipjorge9

I don’t know, I saw ALOT of Big PS4 games this past weekend.

Sure felt like Sony was there.

When you are 100 million units strong, the other developers will do your conference for you.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@hiphipjorge9: Thats what all the dissapointed Ponys say, I watched a show with no Sony so ill say all I saw all weekend was sony, your a cretin go back to your fangirl cave and jack off to chun li you bampot

Avatar image for hiphipjorge9
hiphipjorge9

@pcgamer2019: I don't own a PlayStation. Actually traded it in over a year ago because I thought an XBox One S w/ Game Pass was a better value for me.

So, thanks for your input.

Avatar image for G-Corleone
G-Corleone

@hiphipjorge9: agreed. SE was Sony-centered.

Avatar image for rath7739
Rath7739

Phil Spencer has no killer instinct, and this is why the Xbox Scarlett will probably not beat the PS5 in sales. Instead of going for the knockout punch against Sony at E3, he choses to sing their praises and admire them, instead.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@rath7739: You cannot throw a knockout punch on your back being carried away on a stretcher.

But do not get me wrong, Spencer has done an amazing job with the shitshow given to him. Mattrick, Balmer, and more left him with a body full of cancer, on a out of control train, heading to board the Titantic. Mattrick/Balmer sold off nearly all their first party developers contracts (believing console was dieing and that the future was motion controlled, mobile, or social games). They halved their already halved game development budget. The rest they put into FPS genre, which has fell off this 8th gen. Even with the writing on the wall, they double down for control of the living room with live tv, social media, etc. The worse thing was Mattrick just assumed the EU, AU, Asia, S. America would just come to their door, and did little to promote in those markets.

I think if Spencer stays at the helm through much of the 9th gen he will be able to greatly close the gap. So much work, time, and consumer goodwill flushed away in such a short time.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@jenovaschilld: He wont close it he will end Sony, they are already looking irrelevant, almost everyone you speak to who moved to sony because of xbox one and mattrick are headed home after the new consoles. Ponys will be isolated little creatures with no corssplay or users, such a sad way to out of business

Avatar image for stelios
Stelios

@pcgamer2019: I heard the opposite. Phil Spencer actually wants to release Halo Infinite and subsequent Microsoft exclusives also to the PlayStation platform, so they can enlarge their ecosystem and move from being a hardware producer to third party publisher and service provider.

Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

@rath7739: you have to be winning on the competition to deliver a knockout punch. A humble approach is better after how the company spitted on customers all those years back, and hinting any arrogance won't work.

Avatar image for saiyanspiderman
SaiyanSpiderman

I have two Xbox ones, a Switch, a PS4, and a gaming pc. I get to watch and enjoy all conferences with excitement instead of watching for a company to fail. I have loyalty to having fun and gaming, not to a particular brand.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@saiyanspiderman: I bet you regret the silly drunken ps4 purchase though right, just drop the pretence we all know its a bag of broken biscuits

Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

@saiyanspiderman: and a fat wallet :D

Avatar image for saiyanspiderman
SaiyanSpiderman

@santinegrete: I mean, not really. I started with the Xbox and then the pc and then so on. You obviously don't buy all at once. I think I bought them all over a course of 4 years. Hell I got my PS4 last year for $200 during a sale.

Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

@saiyanspiderman: that's cool man, I just a good deal with Xbox One, the most basic version but it was is a steal. I don't know if I could have jumped into this gen of consoles if it wasn't for that, and since I don't have a PS4, I got just mid way :(

Avatar image for asurawrath
AsuraWrath

I understand that it would be cool for Sony and Activision to shown up. But looking for Sony's side in this story it seems like not every one that has a good showreel for this date of the year. The market is becoming everyday more competitive for them, indie devs has also occupied a good space in the industry. So, saving their announcements for when their products are really ready is better than showing some uncomplete or unpolished complete games, risking to cause a bad reception or breaking the hype.

I mean, Samsung and Apple doesn't announce their new gadgets together. So looking by how game industry has evolved, it's very understable that every great publishers/developers may choose to present their products in their own time/event.

P.S.: Those GameSpot autoplay video are very annoying.

Avatar image for tingtong
tingtong

Thats quite alright, because Nintendo killed that shit. The only way Sony could even get my attention at this point is with the release of PS5.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@tingtong: Im the same I need a new door stop

Avatar image for cuthbert51
cuthbert51

Well, he's not wrong. It made there be no reason to watch live, and instead just read an article discussing highlights after it was over.

Avatar image for richallen1976
RichAllen1976

Why are all the Sony zealots crying about this? It's not like your company had anything cool to show off at E3 anyway.

Avatar image for Arkhalipso
Arkhalipso

@richallen1976: To be completely honest, some infected gameplay from TLOU2 would have had a bigger impact than MS entire show. But yeah, not much other than that. Both MS and Sony are saving the big guns for next year.

Avatar image for pcgamer2019
PCGamer2019

@Arkhalipso: For you yes because your stupid fangirl, wise up crackpot

Avatar image for Arkhalipso
Arkhalipso

@pcgamer2019: Damn, you must be one sad little man. Chill.

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

@Arkhalipso: I thought MS did a pretty good job this year personally. It felt almost like a new horizon for the company gaming wise. I always think its cool when Phil wants the whole industry to be involved. It helps that he speaks with Microsoft behind him, but still cool.

Avatar image for Arkhalipso
Arkhalipso

@thelostscribe: Yeah, I think the presentation was ok. The reason why people think it was lackluster is because they hyped it a lot and didn't actually show anything mindblowing. With all the studios that they've acquired, I was expecting to see some new high caliber AAA IPs, although I'm sure they're saving them for next year, just like Sony (maybe not new IPs on Sony's part, but something like HZD2 and a new GOW).

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

@Arkhalipso: I suppose so. I think some of their developers already had some games in the making, so they just represented those quickly and moved on. I do think they are saving the big games for next year definitely.

Avatar image for consolehaven
ConsoleHaven

I love Phil Spencer. Can’t wait for console reveals.

Avatar image for xenomorphalien
XenomorphAlien

Overall this E3 was pretty crappy. I doubt Sony would've made much of a difference tbh, this gen is coming to a close and everyone showed what they have left for it.

This doesn't mean E3 is dead though, it's already confirmed for next year and it'll be 5 times better with next gen reveals.