How Sony Stole Christmas – PlayStation Experience Won December’s Gaming Media

With two major events debuting this month, December was exciting, and busy, period for gaming media. These two events were Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards 2014 on the 5 December and the PlayStation Experience in Las Vegas to celebrate the 20th birthday of Sony’s console from 6-7 December.

The Game Awards seemed to have worked out pretty well in terms of viewers. However, just one day later the PlayStation Experience came along, producing an impressive amount of new announcements and earning praise in the gaming media from the likes of Polygon or Alist. The question is: How did the numbers for the PlayStation Experience add up?

Fortunately, ICO Partners has specialised in tracking the European gaming media landscape with several in-house developed tools (for more details how the tools works click here). This way we could take a closer look on how the PlayStation Experience was picked up by European media.


Graph 1: PlayStation Experience VS gamescom VS Blizzcon

To find an answer to our question we compared the number of published articles by European media for the PlayStation event with two other similar events: Europe’s biggest gaming show gamescom and Blizzard’s Blizzcon. Because the events took place at different times of the year and with different schedules, we decided to only track media coverage for the first three days after the event starter in order to make the data more comparable.


While gamescom clearly towers above the other events in coverage, it is interesting to note that PlayStation Experience only talked about a single platform in direct comparison to the varied line-up of developers and manufacturers of gamescom. The PlayStation event also clearly outperformed Blizzcon in terms of number of articles published. Not only that, the PlayStation event coverage was also generated on a weekend.

In numbers our tool tracked 15.720 published articles across all three events over their first three days, with gamescom accounting to 65% of the coverage (10.233 articles), while PlayStation Experience is responsible for 25% (3.862 articles) and Blizzcon for 10% (1.625 articles).


Graph 2: PlayStation Experience on a Country Level


Zooming in and taking a look at the data on country level over the three days and just comparing gamescom and the PlayStation Experience, gamescom generated 213 articles in the UK and PlayStation Experience respectable 138. That’s about 65% of gamescom’s coverage in the country for a single platform event.

French media also keenly reported on the announcements, with 217 articles for gamescom and 109 for the PlayStation Experience. Meaning, when the two are compared, that Sony’s single event garnered 50% of gamescom’s entire coverage in the country.

In Germany, where gamescom took place, the coverage for the event was stronger with 361 articles, but the PlayStation event numbers were still comparable to other territories with 133 published articles, totalling 42% of gamescom’s coverage.


Graph 3: PlayStation Experience Weekend vs Regular Weekends

Another factor we mentioned previously is that the PlayStation Experience took place on a weekend, where the average number of published articles is, traditionally, significantly lower compared to regular week days.

To highlight what happened on the PlayStation Experience weekend we randomly picked 5 major gaming sites across Europe, specifically Kotaku (UK), Eurogamer (UK), Gamer (NL), Gamekult (FR) and Gameblog (FR) and looked into them in more detail.

We tracked the number of published articles from the 12 November to the 12 December to see how the PlayStation Experience weekend held up compared to regular weekdays and weekends. Please note the numbers for the PlayStation Experience weekend may include overlaps from the Game Awards as they took place just one day before the PlayStation event and the data from 5 sites is of course not representative of a whole region. Still, the graph below should give an idea what the PlayStation Experience weekend looked like compared to a regular weekend.


As you can see in the charts above, the number of articles published on the PlayStation Experience weekend (marked in orange) is drastically higher than on regular weekends. Whereas an average weekend in the tracked period (excluding the PlayStation Event weekend) spawned 55 articles across our 5 sample sites, the PlayStation Experience weekend saw 254 articles. This means in comparison to an average weekend the number of published articles was almost 5 times as much due to the PlayStation event. The Saturday especially saw strong coverage by media, resulting in it even being the single strongest day of the whole tracked period in terms of published articles on 4 of the 5 sites, with Kotaku the exception.



Although Sony attended this year’s E3 and gamescom with a host of announcements and received strong media attention, it managed to pull off yet another event of similar impact seemingly out of nowhere. Obviously, that’s impressive from a lineup perspective but the real coup here is the gain in brand value: A massive mindshare grab for the PlayStation brand for a whole weekend and all that without sharing the stage with any of it’s competitors at one of the traditional big events on the calendar.

With refreshed enthusiasm for it’s consoles just before Christmas, surprisingly big announcements and equally large media coverage it could be argued the PlayStation Experience was a better operation than any other gaming event this year. Proving Sony truly knows how to throw a birthday party for itself and its fans.

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