Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation are archrivals in the console world. Both have tried to outdo each other on several occasions, including at E3. However, E3 2019 was different because Sony chose not to take part in gaming’s biggest event. Sony’s absence was largely felt by PlayStation fans, analysts and experts, but one unexpected “miss you” message for Sony came from its archrival.
Why Spencer missed Sony
When sharing his thoughts on E3 and Sony, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said E3 was not the same without Sony and that he hopes the Japanese company returns next year.
“I wish Sony was here,” Spencer told Giant Bomb. “E3 isn’t as good when they’re not here.”
He shared a similar thought about Activision, which also skipped E3 this year.
The Microsoft executive said the annual event is extremely crucial to the gaming world. E3 is watched by the whole world, and it is much more relevant now when the gaming industry is coming under criticism and judgment.
Spencer mentioned the World Health Organization (WHO)’s designation of “Gaming Disorder” as a disease. The executive added that E3 is an apt platform to show the world that gaming is not just for kids. However, such a task becomes more difficult without biggies like Sony and Activision.
“We have to stand up as an art form and an industry and explain that we’re not just slack-jawed kids in basements swearing at each other and trying to headshot everybody,” Phil Spencer said.
His comments on Sony and E3 are not just from the viewpoint of a rival. He is also on the board of directors for the Entertainment Software Association, the organization which runs E3. Thus, as a part of such an elite group, Spencer would want the best for the show. Other members of the group include ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman and Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick.
Microsoft’s big presence was not enough
Spencer’s comments on E3 and Sony came despite Microsoft’s enormous presence at E3. The company revealed over 60 games at the event, including Halo, Gears 5, Forza, and talked openly about its next-gen console, which is code-named Project Scarlett. The Microsoft executive talked about the xCloud streaming platform as well. Spencer said the service won’t replace consoles, but rather, will complement them.
“Where you play is now entirely your choice,” Phil Spencer said at E3 2019.
Microsoft also revealed the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It allows users to play games on their console or PC at will. The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $14.99 and includes an Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass for consoles.
Microsoft also talked about the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. The new controller comes with plenty of updates, including a wrap-around rubber grip, Bluetooth connectivity, adjustable tension joysticks, a rechargeable battery with 40 hours of play per charge and shorter hair trigger locks. The controller is now available for pre-order for $180.
Spencer also answered one big question about Xbox’s future, saying that Scarlett won’t be the last console.
Sony and E3
Sony made its intention of missing E3 known well before the event. To explain why it wouldn’t attend E3 2019, the Japanese company said it aims to “innovate, think differently, and experiment with new ways to delight gamers.”
It’s understandable that Sony decided to miss E3. The Japanese company may not have much to reveal now. Sony is now in a transition period in terms of game development. The company appears to have its final first-party games for the PS4 already lined up in the form of Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us: Part 2 and Death Stranding.
Other than these three titles, there are no other first-party games announced for the PS4. This seems to suggest that Sony’s focus is now on its next-gen console. Assuming game development for the PS5 is already in the works, we can expect Sony to make a big comeback at E3 2020.
With or without Sony, E3 2020 is expected to be even more relevant to the gaming world than E3 2019. The event will likely reveal key information about next-gen consoles and the games to go with them.