Gaming presses pause in respect of US protests – Activision joins EA and PlayStation – but what about the other ‘E3’ shows?

Multiple gaming giants have announced the delay of major announcements over the last 24 hours. Activision, PlayStation and EA lead the move, with all three postponing events which were to have taken place this week, in response to the continuing protests in the US after the death of George Floyd. 

We fully support their decisions, but we will discuss what impact these correct choices will have on their content and marketing strategies going forward.

ACTIVISION

The latest cancellation comes from Activision, which has delayed the launch of its Call of Duty: Warzone Season 4 and Call of Duty: Mobile Season 7 launches as a result of ongoing events.

While previous postponements were for marketing events for upcoming titles, Activision has broken new ground in actually delaying the launch of content for a current title – one that is making the company considerable money in Battle Pass and other microtransactions globally. 

It’s hard to comment on the impact the delay will have upon the game without knowing the exact details of what Activision had planned for the launch of the season, though it looks to be its biggest yet. Activision has little to worry about, though, as Warzone has plenty of momentum right now, so the added wait will likely only further drive anticipation among players. 

WHAT NEXT?

The current crop of events being cancelled would obviously have once, in a different time, been focused around this year’s E3 show. Obviously cancelling the show itself, with tens of thousands of paying consumers plus hordes of business travellers, would have been an even tougher proposition – one decision that thankfully the industry does not have to make. 

However, the ghost of the show that was E3 2020 still looms large over the next week, with Geoff Keighley’s Summer Gamefest, the PC Gaming Show, the recently-announced The Future Games Show and many more publisher showcases in the offing for the next week.

With multiple stakeholders involved in many of these shows there will be some frenzied discussions going on, and with the current protests looking likely to continue, we can see many more events being delayed to later in the month in respect of the protests. 

PLAYSTATION

Most notable remains Sony’s decision to delay its PlayStation 5 games showcase, due to occur later this week. While this is undoubtedly the right decision, both morally and from a business standpoint, to delay the announcement, it is Sony that seems to have the least wiggle room to make this work. 

Sony has taken criticism for the speed at which it has unveiled the new console and games for it, running well behind the timeline used for the successful PS4 launch in some respects. Delays to key titles, in part due to coronavirus but also more usual development issues, has meant that the Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima will dominate Sony’s thoughts for the next few weeks. 

That, though, means Sony’s plans for the PS5 launch once again looks to be on back foot, forced to react to yet another major world event. It’s the right decision, though, and we hope everyone at Sony can overcome this latest setback and bring the PS5 to market, and to plan.

EA

EA was the first major company to act, indefinitely delaying its Madden 21 event from the start of this week. Especially with the US-focus of the title, it was clear that holding an event at this time was neither right nor desirable.

 

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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