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For the first time since the first Electronic Entertainment Expo in 1995, Sony will not appear next year at the annual convention, writes Gazette gaming columnist Jake Magee.

In 1995, the first Electronic Entertainment Expo debuted in Los Angeles. During the three-day conference, alongside Nintendo and Sega, Sony announced the North American release date of the original PlayStation.

For the past 24 years, Sony has been a mainstay at the annual video game convention, which has largely grown over the years. E3 is the biggest week in gaming as fans look forward to press conferences from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and others as publishers reveal the big titles they’re working on.

Sony shocked gamers last week when the company announced it would not have a presence at E3 2019.

“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” Sony stated in a press release. “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 also announced in September it would skip PlayStation Experience, an annual Sony conference held in December. Fans have been left to speculate.

Some think Sony has nothing new to show.

At this year’s E3, Sony revealed more details on “The Last of Us Part II” and “Death Stranding,” two titles fans have known about for years but which still won’t be released by E3 2019. The expo is a chance to hype up fans for new games, but Sony has already laid all its cards on the table. What’s the point of E3 if gamers already know what the publisher is working on?

Others believe Sony sees no point in attending the conference because it has no real competition.

Traditionally, E3 has been a way for direct competitors Sony and Microsoft to try to outdo each other in terms of what games and hardware each company has cooking. Even days after the expo, gamers and journalists are still discussing who had a stronger showing and why.

It’s no secret the PlayStation 4 has vastly outsold Microsoft’s Xbox One. Sony has won the “console wars” this generation, and it’s been a slaughter. Sony might not see any value in showing up to E3 when it views Microsoft as already defeated.

I’m not sure what the reason is for Sony’s decision, but I know one thing: I’m going to miss Sony at E3 2019.

E3 has always been a kind of treat for me and other gamers. Yes, we’re all guilty of getting our hopes up for games that sometimes disappoint, but it’s undeniably fun to watch Sony and Microsoft’s live pressers and see everyone’s immediate reaction to newly announced games or thrilling trailers. The hype is exhilarating. It feels like Christmas, even if E3 is a kind of outdated format for game-related announcements.

With Sony pulling out, questions linger: Will Microsoft go all out to really impress the world knowing it doesn’t have Sony announcements to compete with, or will Microsoft mellow out for the same reason? Or will Microsoft also pull out of the conference as well? Will Sony ever return? Is E3 going away entirely anytime soon?

I don’t know, but it’s going to be weird to not have an E3 staple attending the show next year. No matter how good Microsoft’s showing, with rumors of the PlayStation 5 lingering, everyone will be left wondering what Sony’s up to.

Maybe that’s the goal.

Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing jakemmagee@gmail.com or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.