A couple of weeks ago, Sony announced that it was going to live-stream its E3 conference to a number of movie theaters across the United States. Perhaps with the memories of last year’s amazing Sony E3 conference, or perhaps wanting to get a chance to participate in a brand new event, people jumped on tickets for these shows quickly. Across 40+ theaters nationwide, the free tickets for these shows ran out in a matter of hours.
Somehow, I managed to grab one of them.
Late yesterday evening, I took an hour drive up to Columbus, Ohio, to watch Sony’s E3 press conference in a movie theater with a couple hundred other fans. Despite arriving an hour early, I still found myself near the back of the line to get into the theater. Managed to get a good seat, though!
The event, dubbed the “PlayStation E3 Experience,” had three parts to it. The first and most obvious was the live-stream of Sony’s press conference. After that, there was a thirty-minute show exclusively for attendees of the event, featuring interviews with the developers of games announced during the conference. Finally, there was the reveal of the “PlayStation Surprise” gift that was causing much hype amongst the audience.
At this point, I’m sure most of you know about the games and reveals at Sony’s conference. I’m not here to discuss the conference itself, though. I’m here to discuss the Experience experience. I’ve watched many an E3 conference at home alone or with a few of my friends in the past. I do have to say, watching the conference with a large number of other fans makes the reveals much more exciting. Nearly every game reveal and trailer was met with applause, along with occasional snarky comments shouted from the audience. Little Big Planet 3 got the greatest reaction from the audience, with loud cheers and laughter throughout the presentation. The weakest reaction came from the reveal of the Powers TV show. Few in the audience seemed to know anything about it, and it didn’t seem to grab anyone’s attention. A fight broke out in the back of the theater during this presentation, though, providing another form of entertainment.
Unfortunately, the show met with some technical difficulties during points. The stream glitched and pixelated a few times during the Far Cry 4 presentation, but not bad enough to take away from the trailer. The worst occurred during the Devolver Games showcase, where right as the trailer montage started, the stream just up and died for about a minute. Yelling and booing resounded throughout the audience, but after it was up and running again, no more problems were had.
After a huge round of applause for the conference’s final reveal, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, the second part of the program was up. For being one of the major points of this event, I found it to easily be the weakest part. A half-hour set of rushed interviews with game developers interspliced with scenes from trailers we had just seen during the conference. Very little, if any, new information about the featured games (Destiny, Battlefield: Hardline, No Man’s Sky, and Far Cry 4, among others) was revealed. Geoff Keighly, the interviewer and head of this show, came off as very dull and disinterested during most of the interviews. Disinterested also seemed to be the word for the audience, as many people got up and left a few minutes into this show.
Lastly came the part that the people who braved the post-conference interviews were waiting for: the reveal of the “PlayStation Surprise.” This part was given just about two minutes. The back of the badges given to the audience contained a code to be input on PlayStation’s website. For entering this code, audience members will be receiving access codes for the Destiny alpha and Battlefield: Hardline beta, both on PS4. Alongside these were also a five-dollar PSN voucher and a thirty-day trial of Sony’s Music Unlimited service. Upon exiting the theater, the audience was also given a poster featuring a few of the announced games.
Overall, I would have to rate the experience as…okay. The press conference itself was great fun surrounded by like-minded fans, but the technical difficulties and disappointing post-conference show dragged it down a bit. The Experience, I would say, was worth experiencing once. However, if Sony decides to put on these events again come next E3, I will probably pass on attending it.