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No PlayStation Experience this year, Sony executive says

Shawn Layden also weighs in on Fortnite cross-console play

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playstation experience 2014
A scene from PlayStation Experience 2014.
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Sony will not stage a PlayStation Experience event this year, Shawn Layden, the chairman of worldwide studios for Sony Interactive Entertainment, said today.

Layden made the announcement in today’s PlayStation Blogcast. Sony has held PlayStation Experience events in early December each of the past four years. But with less than two months until that window and no announcement, fans had started asking via social media if plans were off this year.

Layden confirmed that they are, for the simple fact Sony doesn’t have as much to talk about this time. “The reasons behind that really are, we don’t have — we have a lot of progress that we’re making in our games, and we’re seeing that coming out, [but] now that we have Spider-Man out the door, we’re looking down into 2019 games like Dreams and Days Gone,” he said.

“But we wouldn’t have enough to bring people all together in some location in North America to have that event,” Layden added. “We don’t want to set expectations really high and then not deliver on it. It was a hard decision.”

The news comes the same week Microsoft announced X018, a “global celebration of all things Xbox” in Mexico City on Nov. 10 and 11. That will include a two-hour Inside Xbox livestream featuring announcements from Microsoft and third-party developers.

Sony’s first PlayStation Experience was in Las Vegas in 2014, San Francisco in 2015, and then in Anaheim the past two years. Layden said it had been kind of a companion event to the company’s E3 keynotes. “It became a great place for us to bring new news to the fans, to let them get closer to some of the new games we were working on,” he said, “some of the stuff we may have announced at E3 and now we can get closer to fans in December of that year.”

Layden promised that PlayStation would “crank that communication” over the winter about new games and products coming “and find more ways to get our message out.”

Separately, he also commented on Sony’s decision this week to relent and allow cross-platform play in Fortnite, which began a beta test this week. Sony had been pressured by its own players, and third-party publishers, to allow cross-platform play with other consoles for more than a year. The issue came to the foreground this summer when Fortnite launched for Nintendo Switch, and players found that accounts used on a PS4 were locked out of the Switch. That lock was also lifted this week.

“This was something that has been taking up probably 60 percent of my Twitter feed, at least over the past few months,” Layden said of the cross-platform issue. “This is something we know is a [user] want ... and we want to deliver that in the best way possible.”