Xbox Series X to take center stage at E3 2020 thanks to Sony no-show

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What a news cycle to wake up to. No sooner than we'd reported on gaming industry analyst Michael Pachter's E3 2020 predictions – namely, that Sony would be skipping out again – we got official word from the owner of PlayStation itself.

But before we could get too down in the dumps over what E3 wouldn't hold, Xbox's Phil Spencer emerged to reassure us that the other big players wouldn't be ditching the massive entertainment event anytime soon.

Taking to Twitter – where everything gets announced these days – the Xbox boss confirmed that his team was working on its E3 showing, despite Sony's continued absence.

See more

With the launch of the Xbox Series X and PS5 in late 2020, many will be looking to E3 to drum up excitement and expectation for the incoming next-gen consoles. 

We'll certainly see devs showing off their next-gen/PS5 titles, but without the PS5 being center stage, the Xbox could certainly get more of the limelight – even if Sony's decision to opt out says a lot about the company's confidence in its product.

Pros and cons(oles)

Sony's absence was certainly felt at last year's E3 convention, and it will be interesting seeing how E3 repositions itself going forward without the support of one of the big three (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo).

The last of these is the biggest enigma at this point, with only a number of rumors about the possibility of a premium (or even 4K enabled) Nintendo Switch Pro model. Knowing Nintendo, some more hardware could well be on the way – though the Switch Lite only arrived in late 2019, so any new devices may not appear until well after E3 in June.

On the other hand, new Nintendo hardware could really benefit from the space left by an AWOL Sony, with the conversation turning to Switch vs Xbox rather than Xbox vs PlayStation.

There have been reports that Sony's indifference to E3 these days is down to disagreement with the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), so it will be interesting in the years ahead to see if the other big dogs at the conference start to feel the same way. For now, though, there's life in E3 yet.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.