It was a sunny afternoon when I found out about Sony’s Live E3 Experience. The company was offering free tickets to live streams of their press conference in only a handful of theaters across the nation. As a bonus, fans attending would receive gifts and an exclusive 30 extra minutes of gameplay and interview footage after the show. Tickets were offered on a first come first serve basis, meaning only those saavy enough to immediately sign up for tickets would get a seat. I was one of the lucky ones that got to see the show. It was the first of its kind. It had all the energy and epicness you’d expect from an E3, but it also fell short in many ways. Will we be seeing more exclusive live streams in the future, perhaps even from Nintendo or Microsoft? Or will this have been the first and last so-called E3 Experience in theaters?
Sony was shy about getting the word out. They dedicated a page to the event on their website, but only active fans of gaming and Playstation could have known about it since there weren’t any huge announcements or ads promoting it. I heard about the show through an article on The Verge. Signing up for tickets was easy. All I needed was basic information such as my e-mail and name. I took the liberty of getting a few tickets for my friends too. Within seconds of signing up, I received an e-mail detailing what I ought to bring to get in: a valid photo I.D and the e-mail.
As it turns out, the ushers had a list of our names so all we had to do to get in was say it. They gave us a lanyard with a slip that said VIP on one side and a code for our promised gift on the other. To our surprise, the theater still had lots of space. Most seats were filled but vacant seats weren’t difficult to find. We found our seats with ease and at the stroke of 6pm, the lights dimmed, and the show began.
The greatest part about watching E3 in theaters instead of at home has got to be the audience. We were alongside gamers just as excited as we were. We had a loud group that reacted accordingly to the action on screen. They’d cheer at the great, boo at the not so great, laugh at the awkward jokes, and even crack a few jokes of their own. Games that got the most applause and vocal praise were: Little Big Planet 3 and its hilariously unskilled gameplay, Mortal Kombat with its complex movesets and brutal fatalities, and of course Uncharted 4 with its gloomy “one last time” theme. Segments that weren’t so well received were the Playstation TV, dragged out explanation of Powers, and the middle part of the stream which was only bad because of incessant lagging. It happened during Farcry 4’s gameplay the most. One guy yelled “Dammit Watch Dogs!” which was exactly what it looked like. Not cool Sony, but it was free so we forgive them.
After the stream was over, we helped ourselves to some posters waiting for us outside highlighting the most anticipated games of the show. The gifts ended up being early access beta keys to Battlefield Hardline and Destiny. We were hoping for an Order 1886 demo, but still it was free, so not bad.
Overall, Sony’s E3 Experience was awesome. Watching the conference in a movie theater alongside fans is the next best thing to actually being there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony holds another one on a bigger scale next year or if Nintendo and Microsoft follows in suit. Game companies have gotten to know their consumers this past year. Nintendo’s plethora of activities and efforts dedicated to fans along with Sony’s E3 Experience have shown game companies the value of interactive promotion. They’ve created evironments where like-minded gamers can coalesce and experience orgy-scaled nerdgasms. And who doesn’t like a mighty nerdgasm with friends?