By The Numbers

PS4 and the history of lavish gaming system parties

Shea Huffman Nov 15, 2013

In honor of today’s launch of Sony’s Playstation 4 and next week’s release of Microsoft’s Xbox One, here’s a look back at some of the biggest, most extravagant, or sort of strange video game launch events.

And we might as well start with last night’s PS4 event:

1. Sony rents out an entire NYC hotel for gamers

For the launch of the Playstation 4, rather than setting up in a Best Buy or Sony Store, Sony’s PR team rented out New York’s Standard High Line Hotel, filling every room with PlayStation branded regalia. Around 500 gamers showed up to recieve their pre-ordered consoles and were given free food, T-shirts, and time with game demos while they waited. After the event ended, the gamers who attended had the option of spending the night in the high-end hotel.

2. Nintendo launches the Wii U with Mario, Luigi, and kind-of-creepy “Mii-costumed characters”

The most recent console launch from Nintendo saw fans braving the cold last November to get their hands on a Wii U, all the while being entertained by mascots bearing a resemblence to iconic characters Mario and Luigi, as well as the somewhat-unsettling Mii avatars. For the past few console releases, Nintendo has held its launch events at the massive Nintendo World store in Times Square, which houses a sort-of-museum of historic Nintendo memorabilia.

3. Sony has its first Playstation 3 shipment delivered by police escort

Back in 2006, Sony launched the Playstation 3 and held its launch party at a Sony Store in San Francisco, complete with give-aways and celebrity appearances from the likes of Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. The biggest spectacle was provided, however, by the arrival of the first shipment of consoles, in a presidential-style motorcade with police escort and bodyguards flanking the Sony executives who unpacked the machines.

4. Microsoft launches the Xbox 360 out of a space shuttle hangar

The event Microsoft held for the launch of the Xbox 360 is likely the biggest and most extravagant release party a gaming company has put on. Teasing gamers for months in advance with a competition for tickets to the event held in “an undisclosed location in the Mojave desert,” the Zero Hour event took place in a retired military hangar in Palmdale, Calif., that once housed the Space Shuttle. The massive set-up treated gamers to the first available consoles, as well as demo stations and cryptic viral marketing set-ups.

Now, with the Xbox One set to launch next week, we’ll have to see whether Microsoft will be willing and able to outdo that.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.