E3 2019 was a departure from years past, as video game heavyweight Sony decided to skip this year’s festivities. However, that does not mean we missed out on big news from the world of gaming as other leaders in the industry announced major licensing deals and product announcements throughout the week.
To catch you up on all the major announcements from the expo floor, here are a few of the key stories you may have missed from E3 2019.
Sony Ditches E3 Keynote
In a surprise move, Sony decided not to exhibit at this year’s E3. The company has been a keynote mainstay for much of the event’s extensive run, but the PlayStation creator decided to skip the show in 2019 with plans to host other community events later in the year.
“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community," says Sony, via a statemen to Game Informer. "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.”
Sony’s move is not necessarily unprecedented; its rival Nintendo skipped E3 entirely in 2013. The sudden departure was still a surprise though, as Sony has a host of products in the works including a successor for the PlayStation 4, according to the Financial Times.
Netflix Steps Up in the Gaming World
In Sony’s wake, Netflix took a step up with a big presence on the show floor. The streaming giant announced a string of titles based on its original IP, such as “Stranger Things” and an upcoming prequel in the Dark Crystal franchise.
The “Stranger Things” mobile game will see players take part in a “Pokémon GO”-style adventure. It will leverage Google Maps technology to bring an augmented reality version of the Upside Down world to the player’s mobile phone. Developed by Next Games, the title will be released as a free-to-play offering when it launches next year.
Netflix’s other upcoming game, based on the Dark Crystal franchise, will provide gamers with a strategic RPG available across consoles. En Masse Entertainment’s "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics" will be based on events that transpire during Netflix’s upcoming prequel series and will include an 80-mission campaign mode that sees players play as Gelfling as they seek to fulfill a mystical prophecy.
Netflix’s announcements at E3 2019 prove just how seriously it’s taking gaming. If this year’s announcements are any indication of the future, the streaming company looks to just be getting started on its way to be a major player at E3’s for years to come.
Microsoft, Nintendo Play Nice for ‘Smash Bros.’
At E3, Nintendo announced that it came to terms with Microsoft to bring Banjo and Kazooie to the “Super Smash Bros.” world.
This collaboration marks the first time a Microsoft-owned character will be used in a Nintendo property. Both characters will be available for combat in an upcoming “Smash Ultimate” update later this year. Banjo and Kazooie were the most-requested character additions for the game, according to a fan poll conducted on Twitter.
The deal between the rivals showcased the extensive potential for in-game character licensing deals. As games continue to develop more and more licensing opportunities, in-game avatars of branded characters looks to be a big part of the future.
That is just a handful of the big news from last week. For our full coverage from E3 2019, please visit our E3 page.