The whole narrative of dominating the show because of announcements is a fascinating thing that *only* Expo seems to have. I mean, I always argue it's an industry show, so I guess that makes sense, but it's also just interesting to me that anyone might thing that Spooky not being there was a specific move that they made so they wouldn't be compared to anyone else.
I don't think it was. In short, they had nothing to announce - TNA was already out at multiple shows beforehand so people knew what it was, and it was in production already. Pirates wouldn't have "overshadowed" a game that has been receiving rave reviews for 6+ months already unless they were announced on the same day.
I mean, JJP "dominated" this year in large part because no one else decided to make any huge announcements. And don't get me wrong, everything that I have heard is that Pirates is absolutely amazing and probably would have dominated the pinball news cycle even if ten things were announced, which is a hugely positive thing - but saying that TNA didn't have the buzz that Pirates had is true, but also rather unfair based on when it was announced.
I've argued for a while that if anyone wants the best "bang for the buck" in the way of getting news about their products out, it's to find a venue where nothing else is being announced and announce there. If you do that, ALL of the show patrons are sharing your news, whereas if you announce when ten groups announce, you get compared. Oddly, for the majority of history, companies like to announce when others are announcing. This seems to have created a weird narrative this year that JJP's announcement far outshadowed the other announcements at the show, of which there really just weren't any this year.
And that's okay. There is a LOT of great things to play in production.