Gamescom might be the world’s largest gaming event, but that doesn’t mean that the biggest companies always show up. Case in point: for the first time since the Cologne-based trade fair began in 2009, Sony will not attend, opting instead for an “international media briefing” during Paris Games Week.
According to a statement from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, the company’s absence has little to do with the event itself, and everything to do with timing. E3 2015 will take place June 16 through June 18, a week later than normal, while Gamescom 2015 runs a week earlier, spanning August 5 through August 9.
With such a narrow window between the two events, SCEE decided “that both PlayStation and the wider industry would benefit from a major news milestone later in the year, during the most important period for gaming.” Paris Games Week takes place right in the middle of the holiday shopping season (October 28 through November 1), which is traditionally when game publishers release the year’s biggest titles.
Last year, Sony announced Until Dawn, Tearaway: Unfolded, and WiLD at Gamescom. Notably, none of those games launched during the 2014 holiday season; in fact, not a single one of them is out yet, although Until Dawn and Tearaway are supposed to come out this summer. If Sony views Gamescom as a place to announce projects for the first half of next year – and not a forum to build hype for the big holiday releases – then its decision makes sense. Last December, Sony also held its own press event, The PlayStation Experience, in Las Vegas.
Over the past few years, the traditional trade show press conference – which is really more like a pep rally than a traditional press event – has started to fall out of favor. In 2013, Nintendo cancelled its traditional theater-packing press conference in favor of an online-only broadcast, which was supplemented by a series of smaller, software-focused live events and a booth on the show floor. The rumor mill suggests that the Nintendo presentation might be back this year, albeit in a much smaller form. Additionally, long-time E3 participant SEGA will skip this year’s event entirely.
On the other hand, some companies remain committed to tradition. Japanese publisher Square Enix recently announced its own E3 press event, although the developer’s most anticipated title, Final Fantasy 15, will not make an appearance.