Conventions are not new by any means, especially fan centered ones such as PAX or BlizzCon. However the PlayStation Experience is completely unique in that it not only allows third-party publishers to interact with fans and community but also allows one of the ‘big three’ to interact directly with their fan base as well.
For the price (one-day $50/two-day $90) PlayStation Experience allows fans to play the games they love and are looking forward to in the coming months. All the while, interacting with developers, industry icons and with other fans. The fan reaction so far has been uproarious from those attending. From the initial keynote fans have been on their feet trucking along from booth to booth enjoying every facet of the experience (pun intended).
I have seen fans, say “Oh My God!” more times than any other convention I have previously attended (E3, and NYCC primarily). Sure it’s not as big as an event as E3, so the ‘bombs’ dropped were mostly hyped up by NeoGaf and the internet itself. Also though, it is a lot cheaper for fans to attend than E3 and unlike E3, which is mostly for the industry, the fan-service displayed in the inaugural year of PlayStation Experience is unlike any other. Between swag bags filled with PlayStation logo water bottles, pins and t-shirts to ‘scavenger hunt’ that is finding all 52 cards in the PlayStation Experience deck of cards. Fans not only get free stuff, but if they come prepared, and loaded ($$) they can garner rewards from all over PlayStation fandom including the now sold-out PlayStation 4 Classic as well as other swag such as exclusive PlayStation Experience shirts and collectibles. None of which are over-priced.
Given the wealth of feedback received so far, there is no doubt in my mind that PlayStation Experience will return next year. Having a better venue than E3, a well setup system of booths, line queues, and the wealth of information presented to fans, only rises it’s status as the ‘new kid on the block’ of conventions. It wouldn’t surprise me if other first-parties take notice and decide to hold their own ‘Experience’ type of event. Time will tell if Sony decides to go ahead with PlayStation Experience ’15 but something in my gut says they will and nobody benefits more than the fans.