The Biggest Gaming Companies Are Skipping E3

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony won't be bothering with E3.

By Jason Collins | Published


We all saw it coming, but none dared say it out loud—the gaming giants don’t want to share the spotlight, and the online conventions are apparently here to say. While the opening line is our own deduction, it’s driven by rumors that the biggest gaming companies—Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo—won’t attend the biggest gaming convention E3.

According to The Verge, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft will be skipping the revitalized E3 gaming convention in June. The upcoming E3 is the first physical event in the past four years, ever since it went online in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the historically massive showcase for the gaming industry has apparently lost three of its major draws, as reports suggest that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo won’t attend this year’s event—while none of them has provided a concrete reason for their absence.

Xbox’s Phil Spencer stated that the company is timing its showcase at a time that’s convenient for the press and the consumers visiting E3 but hasn’t confirmed whether the company will have a booth and a spotlight during the show itself. It could be clever world play for “we’re not coming.” Given the ongoing difficulties with its Activision Blizzard acquisition, and massive layoffs within the company, we can’t actually blame Microsoft for not attending.

Besides the delayed Starfall and semi-working Halo, their showcase seems rather slim. Slim enough to warrant a dedicated event.

From the delayed Starfall

Sony was the first among Big Three to skip E3 in 2019. However, just like Nintendo, the company has refrained from attending any big gaming event for several years now. And just like Nintendo, Sony proved that it could drive huge news cycles and attract massive audiences with its live video presentations, so both companies might feel reluctant about sharing the spotlight with Microsoft, which is currently, at least from Sony’s perspective, trying to monopolize the market.

However, among the three, Nintendo was the only one that maintained an E3 booth despite having its massive live presentation format and general absence from all major events. So, what’s really at play here remains to be seen. It’s actually possible that the company has no games to showcase, except maybe the upcoming Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which is scheduled to release one month before E3 takes place.

So, no first-party games for Nintendo? Switch is at the tail-end of its lifecycle, so what about new gaming hardware? Or should we Switch to Steam Deck? Pun intended.

In the end, all three companies have effective online showcase strategies, which provide them with good flexibility to tailor their own promotional activity, either before or after big events such as E3. With everything said, it’s also important to note that this information isn’t verified and that none of the aforementioned companies have confirmed or denied their absence from E3, so take this information with a grain of salt. E3 is still months away, and while it might be a waning icon from the industry’s history, there’s still a chance that one of the Big Three might attend.