Electronic Arts has confirmed that EA Play will return in 2019, but the publisher will be skipping E3 2019's main conference stage. EA has hosted EA Play for the past three years, but has typically lead with a press conference before following up with its own fanfests and other activities exclusive to the publisher.
EA's last press conference at E3 2018 featured Anthem, Battlefield 5, Unravel 2, among other titles. Notably, Anthem has been a mess since its launch period and Battlefield 5 has struggled with its issues as well. That's resulted in some rough sales performances for EA, alongside a loss of fan support as more and more players become disappointed with the publisher's recent offerings. While the 2018 press conference itself was met with a lot of enthusiasm, post-E3 has been a much different story for one of the industry's most prominent publishers.
EA Play 2019 will happen from June 7-9, with a kickoff event scheduled on the night of Friday, June 7. EA announced that it will be skipping the E3 conference while offering an alternative instead. Rather than the traditional main stage presentation model that has been the norm at E3 for years, EA will replace it with a series of live streams that will air over the course of the three-day event:
"We're skipping the press conference this year and are replacing it with multiple live streams that will air during the first two days of the vent, bringing you more of what you've told us you want - more gameplay and insights from the teams making the games."
EA's decision to replace its presentation with its own livestream is notable, but also consistent with what we've been seeing from other major companies. Sony announced it would be skipping E3 2019 earlier because it felt it didn't have enough to show, and it's possible that EA feels the same way. So many major presences stepping out of the spotlight has definitely left the door open for Xbox's E3 2019 presentation to steal the show, something Microsoft sorely needs after a disastrous current console generation.
EA has also promised a fanfest that spans the weekend, while also featuring content creators who will stream live from what the company is calling the "Creator's Cave." According to the publisher, all online EA Play content will be featured on EA.com, including behind-the-scenes gameplay, developer talks, and official news announcements. Tickets will be available next month, and more details - including what games will be at the event - will likely be revealed over the coming weeks.
The decision to skip E3 continues to make a lot of sense for companies, and it probably doesn't mean anything too sinister or concerning under the surface. With today's technology, it's a lot easier to host an individual event and livestream it to millions, which also lets companies cut cost on expensive E3 slots. While EA's plans for June remain murky, it's clear that publishers will continue to seek out ways to streamline and refine their major games announcements, and that could mean E3 becoming even less involved in the future.