Sony shocked fans around the world when they first decided to skip out on E3 back in 2019 and then later confirmed that the would not be attending 2020’s showcase as well. COVID-19 ensured that no one else would either, but what was the reason behind pulling PlayStation from the E3 lineup? While there has been some talk about this very decision in the past, former PlayStation Vice President for Third-Party Relations, Adam Boyes, recently opened up about more about the company’s change in direction.
In a recent interview with Push Square, Boyes mentioned that their decision to pull out of the E3 showcase was a decision born out of a noticeable change in behavioral patterns within the industry. With more and more companies going digital for a fraction of the cost and the same amount of coverage (we journalists are hungry), there wasn’t really much of a point anymore to spend millions of dollars for stage time and planning when they could instead use a much smaller budget for privately-run reveals.
According to Boyer, “I think, in general, you look at the cadence and lifecycle of platforms and I think you only have a certain amount of time, you want to make it super impactful, and unfortunately, I think you sometimes have to make hard decisions about what creative content can go where. Some of it was put in the pre-show, some of it was post-show, and some of it was during show announcements.”
He then brought up similar events going their own route such as the Inside Xbox and Nintendo Direct showcases, saying that “we’re migrating more towards that compilation-based approach” where people want content and they want it fast and to-the-point. He even added that it feels like all companies are in a must faster momentum due to the “give it to me now TikTok era.”
“And even when I look at some of the scripts I was using, it was very much ‘look at me, I’m enjoying myself but I’m also going to talk about a fun game’, whereas people nowadays don’t care about the spokesperson. ‘Show me the stuff’. If we look at America’s Funniest Home Videos, right now it’s just fail compilations. I don’t need a host talking me through it, show me all the stuff. And I think that’s sort of what happens with these kind of shows, which in my opinion makes them less of a theatrical experience and more of a trailer compilation. But from what I understand, that’s more of what the fans want. Show me what you got.”
The industry has definitely seen a massive shift in recent years with journalism almost fading into the background in favor of “influencers” and content stars. Additionally, that “give it to me” mindset has bled into almost every industry, making companies pivot away from traditional marketing in favor for what will have the most impact on their audiences.
Journalists, content creators, influencers; we are all hungry for news and are glued to any tid-bit or hint dropped, which means that if a company like Sony opted into a livestream event for a fraction of the cost, it would still make instant media headlines, effectively handling a large chunk of the marketing for them.
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What do you think about Sony’s decision to separate from E3 and what are your thoughts on the current evolutionary shift of our beloved industry? Sound off with your thoughts over on Twitter @PrimaGames and tell us what you think!