E3 2021

Why is Sony (PlayStation) not attending E3 2021?

The Japanese company pulled out from the 2019 and 2020 editions and won't be attending E3 2021 either. Regarding its absence, we explain the reasons why Sony has dropped out.

sony missing e3 2021

E3 2021 is gathering together most of the biggest video games companies yet there are some notable absences in its line-up of conferences and participants. One of them is Sony (PlayStation), which, despite having a wide assortment of highly anticipated titles, is missing the event. It isn't present among the ESA confirmed partners and it hasn't announced anything after its Horizon Forbidden West focused State of Play. This isn't the first time the Japanese company has decided to skip the fair as it already did so in the 2019 edition. The reasons? For this we need to step back to 2018 for an understanding of its motives.

E3 2018, a key year for Sony

It was June 2018 when Sony last participated in E3, in what was one of the best conferences ever thanks to the atmosphere created and titles showcased: The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, Resident Evil 2 Remake... Later that year, in November 2018, one month before the traditional celebration of the annual PlayStation experience (which was then canceled that year), Shawn Layden, former chairman of worldwide studios for Sony Interactive Entertainment, announced that the company wouldn't be attending E3 2019. It would be the first time it missed the event in its history. Until then, Sony had been an ever-present, but the company shared its reasons (via Game Informer) why it would be skipping the highly influential gaming event:

"As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. 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."

Change of tactics for PlayStation

The statement from the company was clear: Sony wanted to find new ways to appeal to its community. E3 wasn't enough for them. It coincided with a turning point in their communication strategy. In 2019, Sony launched its first State of Play, a new type of livestreams where the company would showcase its upcoming games and set its own agenda. This could be arranged at any time or date they desired with no dependence on other companies or events.

Later, in 2020, Sony announced they were pulling out of E3 2020 before it was then canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The State of Play events continued and the company showed officially for the first time the long-awaited PlayStation 5 as part of one of those livestreams.

For E3 2021, the ESA announced the companies that would be partnering with the organization. Sony wasn't on that list. That said, Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest announced Sony was participating in their event. It seems some games available for the PS5 will be showcased there although probably not any main titles or exclusives.

The Japanese company hasn't stated yet if it will be holding its own conference or event, like a State of Play, this summer. We'll bring you more as we have it...