This is fine: That’s the tone of a press release out of the Entertainment Software Association today. The organization, which operates the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show, is dealing with the news that Sony won’t bring PlayStation to E3 2019. And that is making many people wonder why they would even care about E3 at all. To address those concerns, however, the ESA published a statement and some comments from some of its largest remaining partners.
In its press release, the ESA says the show must go on. It pointed to the success of E3 2018. That show had a record of 2.9 million concurrent viewers on Twitch and 15 million tweets. But Sony drove some of that attention. The ESA recognizes the importance of those bigger companies. It is playing up the participation of both Nintendo and Microsoft.
Nintendo says it show up as usual in June.
“E3 is an outstanding opportunity for us to share new games and experiences with fans and business partners from across the globe,” Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said. “Every year, we discuss what will be the best way for us to take advantage of the next E3 show in order to bring smiles to people’s faces.”
Microsoft also said that it is planning to have a booth at the expo.
“E3 is an incredible platform to showcase the vibrancy and creativity of the video game industry,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said. “The ESA continues to expand the event’s reach to fans and the industry, both in attendance and online, and we look forward to what’s ahead at E3 2019.”
But what is the ESA saying?
E3 always feels like it’s in a transition. The show is a mammoth expense for every company who attends. That’s why we’ve seen publishers like Electronic Arts leave the show floor in recent years.
On top of that, ESA is in a transition of its own. Longtime CEO Mike Gallagher left the organization in October. And the ESA is still operating under interim CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis. With Gallagher out, Pierre-Louis has to shore up confidence in E3, and it seems like that’s what this press release is all about.
“E3 2018 broke records, and we sold out of both exhibit space and attendee badges,” said Pierre-Louis. “We are confident that, through the continued creative innovations delivered by our participating member companies, E3 2019 will deliver the same kind of excitement and energy. This year, we’re looking forward to expanding E3 beyond the walls of the LACC and connecting gamers and attendees with incredible video game content throughout the entire LA Live complex.”
Losing Sony is a blow to E3. But the ESA can still put on a big, important gaming convention. We’ll have to see if it can pull that off. Microsoft and Nintendo will contribute to that, for sure.
As for Sony’s plans, it hasn’t revealed anything. It could have an alternative PlayStation-exclusive event or nothing.
It’s interesting times for E3, and it’s going to have to change if it wants to survive them.