Speaking to Game Informer, Sony revealed that it wanted to "innovate, think differently, and experiment with new ways to delight gamers." Further, it was "exploring new and familiar ways to engage" its community, though at the moment, it had no details to divulge on how it plans on doing this.
As you would expect, the announcement was met with a bit of backlash from the PlayStation community for a myriad of reasons. And according to industry analyst, Michael Patcher, it's "a mistake" for Sony to skip out on gaming's largest event of the year.
"I think it's a mistake to skip the show," said Patcher while speaking to GamingBolt. "They will probably be there without a big booth. It was a surprise to me."
Patcher added that he thinks the reason Sony opted to play hookey this year is because of the timing of its new games. Further, he points out that they likely have nothing new to announce at this point.
As you may know, next year before E3 rolls into town, Sony will ship Dreams and Days Gone, leaving only Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and The Last of Us 2 as the only major PlayStation 4 exclusives not accounted for. But rather then use E3 to roll out a new trailer, and possibly a release date or window for these games, Sony will seemingly reveal said relevant information at some other point during 2019.
With Sony gearing up for the launch of the PS5, which is expected to ship in 2020, it's no surprise it's still getting it's eggs in order. There's probably announcements it could make, but it likely wants to hold those until closer to the launch of PS5. So, there's some truth suggesting that it doesn't need an E3 media showcase just for the handful of big first-party PS4 exclusives that remain. However, with Nintendo and Xbox attending the show, Sony is flirting with losing not only momentum, but mind share in the marketplace. The PS4 is in the homestretch and it's been a great console generation for Sony, but it doesn't want to wobble in the transitional period.