This year’s Electronic Expo is still over a month away, but the show is already starting to feel a little different from all the previous ones. Not only will Bethesda Softworks host its first-ever press conference in the days leading up to the show, but now Sega has confirmed it won’t be hosting an E3 booth for the first time in the show’s 20+ year history.
A Sega spokesperson confirmed to Game Informer that the legendary publisher and one-time console maker will not have a booth on the show floor. While Sega is still “working with our various business partners” to showcase games like Total War: Warhammer at other booths this year there won’t be a giant SEGA logo directing people to a specific Sega-focused area of the show floor.
The official reason for the move? Apparently, Sega is too busy with its recently announced corporate restructuring and relocation to make time for an E3 booth.
“In the coming months, Sega of America will focus on restructuring and relocating to Southern California, and we have decided not to go to E3 this year with our own booth,” a Sega representative told Game Informer. “With most of our larger titles launching later in 2015/2016, particularly those from our AAA studios Relic Entertainment, Sports Interactive and Creative Assembly, we are focusing our efforts on some of these key announcements following our move.”
It’s not unheard of for major game companies to take a short break from time-intensive promotional efforts to focus on actually making games. Blizzard didn’t hold an edition of its Blizzcon gathering in 2012, but the show has since come back stronger than ever.
Still, skipping E3 doesn’t bode well for the overall health of Sega, which will be cutting hundreds of jobs and making cuts to focus on mobile titles as part of its aforementioned restructuring. Despite slightly improving sales for its core gaming business this year, the company was still losing money even before the costs associated with its current complete structural overhaul.
Sega has had a booth at every E3 since the show’s inception in 1995 and was a major player in the video game sections of the Consumer Electronics Show well before that. In fact, Sega made a big splash at that first E3 20 years ago this month when it announced the surprise launch of the Sega Saturn, immediately available in select stores well ahead of a previously announced September launch. The announcement would be remembered as one of Sega’s biggest blunders, as the system’s limited marketing and launch software library led most gamers to wait for the cheaper Sony PlayStation. Sega would give up on video game hardware years later, with E3 2001 marking the company’s last hurray as creator of the Dreamcast.