It seems that skipping major conventions is starting to become a thing for the major players in the console market. First Sony skipped out of E3 and now Microsoft is not at PAX West. Imagine my surprise when I got the new list of exhibitors and the map of the floor and found Microsoft and Xbox missing. Sony is back in the usual location at the convention as is Nintendo; but nothing from Microsoft.
This is unusual as Google Stadia is also going to be on hand and will likely be going all out to show attendees and members of the press why their system is a legitimate threat to the hold that the Big Three have had on the market to date.
Microsoft also went all in at E3 and used it as a platform to announce their new system in 2020 and attempt to gain some ground thanks to the absence of Sony. I am sure Microsoft will be taking advantage of the upcoming Gamescom convention to speak to the large assembly of European media and gamers but their absence from PAX West is interesting.
While companies attending or skipping a show often comes down to money and scheduled releases; Microsoft is located a short drive away from the Washington Convention Center; so setting up a booth does not have the same transportation and hotel costs that other companies have to deal with when they come up from California and other states.
Release schedules are also a big factor in determining if a company attends or not as some companies such as Bethesda are not planning much of a presence at the show as they do not have a booth and it remains to be seen if they will do what they did last year and host and offsite event. However seeing how they only have DOOM Eternal slated for immediate release and how they went big at E3 and their own Quakecon; the company may decide with Gamescom it is too many shows too close to one another.
While there are many Third Party games which will be available on the Xbox One and no doubt will be featured at the show; it is interesting how something as large as Gears of War 5 does not appear to have any presence at the show considering it is due out soon.
I am sure people will say it is not a big deal and in the grand scheme of things it is not; but seeing how Microsoft has had a history of being very visible at conventions it seems odd that they would not be at PAX West seeing as it not only is in their back yard; but they also have a major release coming out shortly after the show.
Companies like Ubisoft and 2K have been very active since E3 showing up at various conventions and also planning to showcase their upcoming offerings at PAX West so one can only conclude that Microsoft did not think it was worth their investment to attend the show.
Perhaps they will look to do offsite events as I remember for Sunset Overdrive how they had a decked out bus and shuttled people to an offsite locale where they could get more information about the game. But even then they still had a large presence on the floor.
It will be unusual to walk into the hall just off the Skybridge and not see them there, but with several other game and hardware companies on hand; I am sure there will be plenty for fans to enjoy.
Hopefully this is not the start of a trend of big companies skipping out on big conventions as the fans and media always look forward to seeing the best and biggest offerings from companies big and small.