Is There a Gap in the Market for Dedicated PlayStation Clubs in the West?

by Palabar

PlayStation gamers are used to competing against strangers in an online setting, where matching up with random people is standard practice.

It can be a social activity, especially if you choose to use your headset and chat with your online opponents and allies. However, this does miss the physical enjoyment of being near people.

There are plenty of clubs throughout Japan that offer dedicated PlayStation zones. These allow players to meet up, hang out, and play their favorite games together. It’s so popular in the country that huge chains offering the experience have emerged. There’s certainly potential for similar gaming hubs in the west too.

Online Players Often Seek the Physical Experience as Well

The video game industry began in the physical world, and it was originally a communal experience. Players would huddle around an arcade machine and watch a friend try to break the highest score. They’d experience joy and ecstasy together, and it was a bonding activity. Like with many leisure activities, the digital world changed all that and made gaming a more personal experience.

The internet has gradually attempted to bring back the social side of gaming, and this has been aided by sites like Twitch and MMORPG games. Nowadays, it’s normal for people to meet in games and then arrange social activities in the real world. For example, various couples met in World of Warcraft and then went on to get married.

The online bingo industry has also helped bring the social aspect back into gaming. These sites have helped broaden the bingo-playing demographic thanks to the inclusion of various other games like slots. Some sites even have connected bingo clubs, that allow members to find a similar experience in an offline setting. Players can have fun and meet like-minded people, and this enhances the overall bingo experience. It’s something that could also work for PlayStation players.

ROUND1 is One of Many PlayStation Meetup Venues in Japan

It certainly feels like there could soon be a rise in gaming clubs in the offline world that add to the product that players find online. It has worked well for bingo, as players get to enjoy different games and activities both online and offline. It’s a concept that is already widespread in Japan, where gaming culture is rife. ROUND1, for instance, is a hugely popular gaming entertainment chain that features PlayStation rooms for players to hang out in.

That’s not the only chain for this form of gaming in the eastern nation either. There’s also Taito Station, a gaming franchise with arcade games and console options. Some of the top locations have special PlayStation rooms that are specifically designed to appease fans of the Sony consoles. There are also several independent PlayStation meetup locations, such as Game Bar A-Button in Tokyo and E-Sports Square in Osaka. These are great spots for tournaments and events.

With gaming now going full circle and players in search of communal options offline, it could be time for the rise of PlayStation hang-out spots in the west. The idea has already taken off in Japan, where it is hugely popular.

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