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PlayStation is skipping E3 2019

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First time in the show’s 24-year history

PlayStation logo on stage at E3 2018 press conference
Sony’s stage presentation for E3 2018, the last one until at least 2020.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Sony and the PlayStation brand will not have a presence at E3 2019, a representative for the company confirmed Thursday to Polygon.

“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” Sony said in a statement to Polygon. “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”

E3 2019 will be the 25th E3, and it will be the first time in the convention’s history that Sony will not appear at the show. The very first E3 was held in May 1995; Sony made a splash during the event by announcing the U.S. launch date and price for the original PlayStation.

Next year, the company will not hold its traditional Monday evening press briefing, nor will it have a booth on the show floor at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Asked if Sony will move its E3 presence offsite, like Electronic Arts has done in the past three years with EA Play, a PlayStation representative said no — it’s passing up the opportunity entirely.

“We will not be programming around E3,” the spokesperson told Polygon.

Sony’s announcement is a surprise not only because it attended all 24 E3s to this point, but also because the company previously announced that it was not holding PlayStation Experience — its own showcase for all things PlayStation — in 2018. PlayStation Experience had been running annually in December for each of the past four years. There’s no word yet on whether Sony will revive PlayStation Experience at some point in 2019. In the meantime, Microsoft brought back its own Xbox showcase last week with X018 in Mexico City.

At this time, Sony is the only platform holder to say that it will skip E3 2019. In a news release about the convention, its organizers at the Entertainment Software Association said that both Microsoft and Nintendo have “committed to participating in E3 2019,” along with the following third-party game publishers: Activision, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, Epic Games, Konami, Square Enix, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

“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,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, interim CEO of the ESA, in the news release. “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.”

A representative for the ESA declined further comment to Polygon when asked specifically about Sony’s exit from E3. Pierre-Louis is running the ESA while the firm searches for a permanent replacement for Michael D. Gallagher, who had been the organization’s longtime president and CEO until his departure in October.

This is hardly the first major change for E3. Nintendo has not hosted a typical E3 press conference since 2013, opting for Nintendo Direct presentations instead. EA left the show in 2016 in favor of separately hosting EA Play. In 2017, the ESA opened up E3 to the public for the first time, selling three-day passes for $149 to $249. The ESA said that E3 2019 will feature “an expanded emphasis on featuring never-before-seen content and providing immersive new experiences for attendees,” in addition to more of a focus on “burgeoning video game sectors” such as esports and indie games.