In my mind, Sony’s best E3 presentation in recent years came two years ago when it barraged us with a host of ambitious titles and promised us the world. The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shemue III, this list goes on and on with gargantuan announcements made at that show.
Well, how many of those gargantuan games are we playing right now? How many of them look like they’re going to take a while to come out? Yeah, that’s what I thought. While I don’t think it’s a good excuse to play it as safe as Sony did this year at E3 2017, I can easily see why Sony and its president Shuhei Yoshida decided to take it slower.
According to Yoshida while speaking with GameSpot’s Kinda Funny, Sony was tired of not living up to meeting its release dates, the reason behind it not announcing any on stage.
Because we announced a lot of release dates for games that we had to apologize for pushing back in the past, we got together and discussed this seriously. Because PS4 games are so big and all the teams, even veteran teams making games for the past 10 years, still miscalculate how much work is done at the end of the development; polishing and debugging, for example. So we agreed to not announce release dates until very, very, very, very close to the release date. That puts a lot of challenge to our marketing and sales teams, but they understood and agreed and allowed us to just say seasons like fall or spring until we are so close to a finished beta. So that’s the reason we didn’t announce the actual date.
Yoshida also stated that a vast majority of its real announcements also came before the show actually began.
If you noticed, we had to put many of our games coming out this year in the pre-show lineup because we wanted to make the actual show one hour. There were no technical issues that we needed to be worried about and there was no switching people, so we didn’t have rehearsal. We had just one run-through the night before. That was it.
This is true. Many of Sony’s smaller announcements that I was more interested in, like Undertale’s PS Vita port and Superhot coming to PlayStation VR, occured before the show to minimal fanfare. I wonder how many of these stories fell on deaf ears since gamers tuned into E3 2017 in a more traditional sense.
Maybe next year, Sony will find a better balance in its new approach to E3. This is usually the approach that Nintendo takes, but it does all of its smaller announcements after the conference with the Treehouse and it has a colorful show floor to generate excitement as well. Sony’s going to have to beat Nintendo at its own game, once again.