This is a question which has been on, almost, everybody’s minds as this year’s briefings have all wrapped up. It’s a hard question to answer; for me at least. I think it’s both yes and no as the arguments I have with myself sway every time I think it through.
I enjoy PlayStation’s showcase. From the over the top orchestras, the set dressing and pomp to the big reveals. I’ve missed that this year. The other conferences, apart from Microsoft, have seemed a little scaled back with information known beforehand from both official announcements and leaks. Square Enix, for example, put out the Final Fantasy 7 remake’s release date before their show. This, usually, would have been something saved for a PlayStation showcase; it’s a chance for Sony to show off the partnerships they have and surprise everybody with release dates and reveals. It provided those of us who primarily play on the PlayStation to see all of the big games, both first and third party. It’s a hype builder unlike any other.
It isn’t just the briefing I miss. Last year there were multiple moments where PlayStation showed the games releasing. Before the showcase, we had a week of smaller announcements including the Days Gone release date and the reveal of Tetris Effect. We also had the days following the showcase where we saw many extended looks at games. PlayStation’s new State of Play announcements work very well but it doesn’t have the same build up or impact as the big week of gaming Christmas. Nor does it give us as deep a look as the journalists and public get during those E3 show floor days. OK, I’m sounding spoilt now and this leads me to the other side of the coin.
It’s a large signal that next gen is upon us. Microsoft announced that their new console would be released in the holiday of 2020. This suggests we’ll be getting a good look at both the console and the slate of games coming to it at next year’s expo. Hopefully, the same is true for PlayStation. They’ve learnt from the past and don’t want to announce things too early. If they don’t have anything to show except the games already revealed then it makes a lot of sense to skip this year. Their third-party partners can have their own panels or use the State of Play format to show off their games as Capcom did with Monster Hunter World Iceborne. As Sony has said, they want to control the message and announce things when they are ready. This year’s E3 has been a little lacklustre with only a few big announcements. If it had been a huge success then Sony may have felt differently about missing it. They would have missed out on being part of the conversation to their detriment. They are still part of the conversation though, through both questions like this and by their presentation of information before E3 began, the PS5 wired article and the Death Stranding release date being two big pieces of news.
E3 is a huge moment in the gaming calendar. These days I’m struggling to keep up with everything and we’re getting more and more developer/publisher briefings running late into the morning. I’m old I can’t stay up until 1 am for Bethesda or 3 am to watch Devolver Digital any more. Plus those who don’t have a conference by themselves or on someone’s stage release trailers and press releases during this week too. It’s a lot of information to try and take in. The location and time difference to the UK means I miss a lot of the announcements as they happen. I then spend the next day trying to catch up on everything by stealing moments in between working to read an article or watch a trailer. PlayStations new State of Play delivery is a good way for me to see a few announcements in a short format throughout the year. OK, it doesn’t have the same impact as a non-stop killer showcase but it appreciates my time a little more.
I still can’t make up my mind.