Why Sony Is Skipping E3 2021

Sony hasn't attended an E3 since 2018, but if you're wondering why the PlayStation manufacturer isn't a part of the biggest gaming event of the year, we have answers.


E3 is arguably the most important gaming event of the year, and in years past, Sony was one of the biggest participants with its enormous stage shows. Since it's just around the corner, that's led many people to wonder if Sony is going to attend the event in 2021. That is not the case: The PS5 manufacturer is skipping E3 for the third year in a row, after eschewing 2019 and 2020.

While we can only really speculate why Sony continues to skip one of the biggest industry events on the calendar, industry insiders and journalists have noted the decreasing cultural cachet of E3 for years now. Back in 2018, the company said that it was skipping E3 because it was looking for other "inventive opportunities" to connect with its own community.

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Attending and putting on massive events is quite expensive at the scale that is expected of platform-holders like Sony, and the ubiquity of social media platforms like Twitch and YouTube allows the company to reach its customers directly without the massive investment of an E3 showing. Plus, even mega-companies like Sony have limited control over big industry events like E3, while they have complete control if they host their own showcase. (Then again, when it comes to an all-digital event, such distinctions are practically meaningless to fans.)

It's also worth noting that while Sony was the first platform-holder to skip E3 back in 2019, it's far from the first major publisher to do so. For example, EA has often hosted E3-style showcases held in physical proximity to the official event. The difference for EA is largely semantics, at least as far as fans are concerned, as new games are still announced in a large presentation.

Still, while Sony may not be attending the all-virtual event this year, the company will certainly unveil some major announcements this summer. Regardless of whether or not a company is formally a part of E3, players can be sure that it will be competing for the same splashy headlines as official attendees. For example, Sony recently held a State of Play event that revealed footage of Horizon Forbidden West, the highly-anticipated sequel to the open-world classic Horizon Zero Dawn. We still don't have a release date on Forbidden West, if you were wondering. For more on E3 2021, check out our official schedule and list of participants, as well as our guide to the games and announcements we really want to see this year.

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