Is PAX getting too big?

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  • InitialDKInitialDK Registered User regular
    I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who thought this year was tougher than previous years. I echo it's all about prioritization. I chose to see a panel and go to bed rather than the Friday concert. I chose to wait in line for 3 hours to see Borderlands 2 and it was worth it to me.

    However I still feel I didn't get hands on with as much as I have in the past but that was because this year I was with the wife and family and ate out more and went to more panels than previous years. There's plenty of time to wait in lines when you don't eat and don't go to the panels like I've done in the past.

    I also feel Firefall was too big for what they had. In my opinion there was a lot of wasted space in that area and it took up room for stuff like the PAX 10 which got hidden away on the sixth floor.

    I think the best solution would be for the big exhibits to do appointments but I imagine they wouldn't be willing to put in the logistical work for that to be feasible. Plus creating "line hype" is probably apart of the marketing strategy.

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  • DjFILDjFIL Registered User
    This was my first PAX. The lines to me were crazy. The people who are willing to wait 2+ hours to play 10-15 minutes of a game, to me are crazy. I always went looking for games with short (20 minutes or less) or no lines. Most of those were indie titles, but lots of them deserved my attention and are something I now look forward to now getting my hands on at home. Only time I waited in a line that was longer then 20 minutes was when we got to the Acquisitions Inc Live D&D show 90 minutes early... but that was good 2+ hours of entertainment and worth the wait.

    My favorite time of PAX was the tabletop free play. I love board games, and it was great to learn and play a few new games that I had been previously interested in purchasing. Maybe if I go to another gaming convention, I'd look towards GenCon, BGG.con or Spiel (Essen) and be happy with it being solely focused on board games.

    While I did overall enjoy my self, I don't know if I'll come back to PAX. I enjoy video games, but I barely got time with any of the major titles I was looking forward to trying. And that was all because I wasn't willing to waste 1/2 of my time on expo floor waiting in a line for my 10 minutes.

  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    I hate closed booths. I don't always feel compelled to play something in the Expo hall, and will try to find a corner out of the way of the traffic to watch someone else play. It lets me feel like I got more out of my walk around the expo hall. It was nice to be able to scope out Skyrim without having to wait in a huge line.

    Also, super tiny booths doing big raffles.

  • pillarofdawnpillarofdawn Registered User
    Someone brought up the Disneyland which made me get to thinking... What if your PAX badge came with a fast pass or line hopper or whatever you wanted to call it. You would get one per day and you could essentially skip the line or go in the fast pass line. Your badge would be punched or marked off or whatever. If it works for disney why can't it work for PAX?

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  • beetardedbeetarded Registered User regular
    Someone brought up the Disneyland which made me get to thinking... What if your PAX badge came with a fast pass or line hopper or whatever you wanted to call it. You would get one per day and you could essentially skip the line or go in the fast pass line. Your badge would be punched or marked off or whatever. If it works for disney why can't it work for PAX?

    That would be awesome, even if it was only once per weekend we all have that game we really want to see. For me the lines were always to long to ever even get a chance. Many people waited 2 hours pluss to play a game more then once which is cool for them, but I think the system would be good.

  • akjakakjak Thera Spooky GymRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    A pass that included ONE line jump, for anything (panel, signing, Q&A, game demo...) would be AWESOME.

    Mostly I really don't bother with game demo lines. I figure if there's a game I'm interested in enough to stand in a 1+ hour line, chances are they're getting my money anyway. I'll get to play it when it's mine :)

    The games I demo are the ones I've never heard of, which tend to have short lines.

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  • SrenaebSrenaeb Registered User regular
    Artereis wrote:
    Also, super tiny booths doing big raffles.

    Yeah.... I think there needs to be a way for the booths to be accountable to the event. Make them promise to have some manner of crowd control. It's good hype etc, but it shouldn't be at the expense of safety and gamers having a good time. We're not E3.

  • palmerpalmer Registered User
    beta_angel wrote:
    All this mention of counterfeit badges makes me wonder exactly how many people got in with them. I realize finding out the answer to this is next to impossible, but it would be a nice piece of information to have.

    As stated by some [E] in another thread (the one on forgeries), estimates of fake badges were three to five THOUSAND this year.

  • tsrblketsrblke Registered User regular
    Someone brought up the Disneyland which made me get to thinking... What if your PAX badge came with a fast pass or line hopper or whatever you wanted to call it. You would get one per day and you could essentially skip the line or go in the fast pass line. Your badge would be punched or marked off or whatever. If it works for disney why can't it work for PAX?

    Disney has a pretty complicated way of doing it though that may be hard to work at PAX. First the's the "Pay for the VIP line" thing, which is really Anti-PAX. Secondly is the basic "Line jumper" which really is a digital space in line (get card, come back at X time). I'm not really sure how that could be accomplished simply.

  • hml151hml151 Registered User regular
    hml151 wrote:
    I think the sad thing for me is that I have a massive spinal problem so line wait is not really an option. So if I'm going to play games it is usually medical/media pass day which was Friday this year. The exhibitors were not ready or no swag or we go to the booth and media shut it down. So there was no point really even try play games with any lines. Citizen Skywatch and Square Enix helped me out so I could play and I thank them. I love pax but I've realized that pax will just be there for me to get photos and maybe play a game or two. I still love PAX and will be returning for my fifth year in Prime 2012!
    Just so everyone buddy knows, PAX Enforcers were awesome with me and assisted me with everything they could do. I love you all for taking time out PAX fun to help us out! Thanks!

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  • 61Ranchero61Ranchero Registered User regular
    I think the impetus for line management needs to be placed more in the hands for the exhibitors; be able to show a line management plan that's satisfactory for the anticipated popularity of your booth.

  • BirrhanBirrhan Registered User regular
    Sunday I noticed an Enforcer at the tail of the Mass Effect 3 line with a small whiteboard with the time estimated to wait. It slipped during the day from 3 hours to 30 minutes--at which point I jumped in! 30 or 40 more enforcers dedicated to line management would promote a lot more order. Assuming, of course, you can find the end of the line!

  • harrysaxonharrysaxon Registered User
    I actually found it easier to get into the stuff I wanted to this year, but I'm all about the panels. I've never stood in a line at the expo hall to play games - now that I'm approaching 40 I guess I have the patience to wait a few weeks/months to try a given game I like. Plus I'm a reasonably big guy and the swag T-shirts are always just a little small for my taste. So that never was a thing I cared about.

    This was my first year at PAX where I literally saw EVERYTHING I really wanted to see. Keynote, PA Q&A, Wheaton, Make-a-Strip, Acquisitions Inc., Sat. concert, and the final Omegathon round. In past years I always missed at least one thing I wanted to see.

    I also really didn't spend much time in the expo hall this year - I decided to focus more on the tabletop stuff this year, and had an easy time with lineups for that stuff, they were all short and/or quick.

  • squeakyboysqueakyboy Registered User
    THE BCEC is far larger than WSCC and most anything in the north east(http://www.cvent.com/en/destination-guide/us-convention-centers-3m.shtml#million). Though it's small potatoes compared to Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando etc. It could probably handle 100k if they wanted to pack them in there. More importantly, it allows for things to be less segregated, so that you have an expo hall right beside tabletop/cards/WOTC which is beside food and the queue room.

    That being said, segregation spreading out isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you look at Gencon, it has half the # of attendees as PAX but takes up MORE space. Indiana Convention Center is larger than WTCC (smaller than BCEC) but they also have events running in like half a dozen hotels, using large amounts of their resources. Most of the offsite events are space hungry (LARPS, True Dungeon) that not all attendees are interested in, but still help to reduce congestion. The events in the Paramount and Sheraton help, but there are a lot of other hotels nearby which I am sure have meeting rooms/etc.

    As for exhibit space, unless the planned expansion to the WSCC takes place I think they maxed it out this year. They might need to explore ticketing vs. lineups for vendors in the exhibit hall. You show up and immediately get a ticket with the scheduled time to demo the game. If you show up late, or don't show up, then there is a standby line (limit maybe 30 people) that can take your place. Tradeoff is that you will get scalpers (and maybe counterfeiters too).

    Alternately, you can move high profile exhibitors to another location (preferably off the exhibit floor, maybe even offsite). This requires predicting which demos will be popular though (but does work out better for media purposes).

    As for the 3rd PAX, I think they will choose a location that has EXACTLY what they need to run the ideal PAX (taking what they learned from Seattle and Boston). Most convention centers that are of the appropriate size are located down south. This also lends well to a fall or winter pax (spring and summer are busy for cons, with PaxE in April, E3 in May, Origins in June, Comic Con in July, GenCon in August and PAXP/DragonCon in September). My guess is Texas, but Vegas would work as well. Being from Canada, I am hoping for Toronto or Chicago.

  • emimonsteremimonster Silicon ValleyRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    1. Yes, counterfeit was a larger problem than normal. Might be time to invest in more complicated-looking badges. No time/money for scanning mechanisms, so something that LOOKS distinct needs to be created.
    2. Booths are thicker than they used to be.

    Exhibitors have motivation to make the lines big and booths crowded with people because more people see videos/photos of their booth than actually attend their booth. HOWEVER, they could do the DMV thing (take a ticket, give estimated wait, call tickets in order. You don't join a "line" until after your ticket is called, so the line is only maybe 3 minutes long to keep things moving, while everyone else is exploring the hall with ticket in hand). This of course looks worse from a marketers perspective. They want those great images of their stuff being in demand and worth waiting 2 hours for. It also is added booth staffing work!

    You can't have a "line cut-off" because you can't stop ppl from milling about in a disorganized fashion waiting to jump into the line when it's opened up again. This would be horrible, horrible chaos.

    You can't have Disneyland line cuts for panels because that would literally stop the back of the line, who's been patiently Qd and told they'd get in) from getting in altogether. NOT COOL. All the exhibitors would have to get together and agree on that system if you did it for demo lines. Or you'd have to have it be in a contract, and when you're trying to extract money from customers (exhibitors are the customers to PA in this situation) you want to cut back on as much of that proviso junk as possible so you can get the terms that are really important. Have to prioritize in business!

    The next PAX loooooks like it will be Europe (????), so that would cut down a tiny amount of demand for badges at Prime and East, but not a whole lot.

    emimonster on
  • ptriz21_teamkillptriz21_teamkill Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    With Halo Fest gone next year, they will also have the annex across the street, assuming they book it. I don't understand why people are so focused on this. Lines don't have to be part of your day. The only line we waited in this year was for Counter Strike. There were plenty of games that you could go and pick up and play. 3DS, Ratchet and Clank, Microsoft, Kinect, Forza, Gears of War, Dirt 3 (I think? with the hydraulic enabled car seat and stearing wheel), PAX 10 are just a few that had maybe 5 minutes wait time or less. If you are going to say "but I wanted to see Skyrim, The Old Republic, Battlefield, Borderlands" then you should be prepared to wait, or work on your timing. You pick the game you want to play the most and you get in the morning queue and you make sure the first thing you do is that game. If you do that each morning, you get to play a major game each day with 30 minutes or less wait depending on how early you get in the queue. How many "major" games were there this year that had huge lines. 5 or 6? If you manage to get 3 (one per day) of the "major" games that are there, then you are doing pretty well.

    The thing that bugs me about this thread is that people are sound like they are saying "but this ruined MY pax, and it wasn't fun for ME." Unfortunately its not about you, its about 67,000 people as a whole, and you should be planning around the other 69,999. Thats just the way it is. I trust PA knows what they are able to manage because every year I have gone has been a good year and have never thought that the number of people was rediculous. And if your time was ruined, then don't come because that means more elbow room for me :P

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  • beta_angelbeta_angel ColoradoRegistered User regular
    The thing that bugs me about this thread is that people are sound like they are saying "but this ruined MY pax, and it wasn't fun for ME." Unfortunately its not about you, its about 67,000 people as a whole

    You're absolutely right.

    Which is why, IN MY OPINION, that's *too* many people.

    It's not a matter of "I could go play Ratchet and Clank". I *could*, but I have zero interest in that game. I had interest in say...Borderlands. Should I expect to wait in line? Of course. 3 hours worth of waiting? Ridiculous. In past years, I've never run into a lineup like that.


    As stated, much of this should be put on the exhibitors. It's not like Bethesda doesn't know Skyrim is going to be a huge title. Of course it is. Bioware is damn certain ME3 will be huge. That being said, they should be paying attention to their lines, having some form of line management with them and not relying on Enforcers.

    As it comes to the amount of people, I still think they should cap attendance at a smaller amount, especially if counterfeits are going to continue to be an issue like this. I have no problem with the crowds, but there is a certain comfort level that I believe could be worked on.

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  • DeliciousTacosDeliciousTacos Registered User regular
    The only time PAX felt claustrophobic and the lines got to be too much this year were the lines in the Pegasus theater at the Sheraton. It was the only theater I went to where the people lining up were all crammed in a room together and it got SO stuffy and smelly and nasty in there after a couple hours.

  • tsrblketsrblke Registered User regular
    I'm going to be completely honest with y'all here, it's the only way I know. So here it goes.
    This was my first PAX, I enjoyed it thoroughly, the wife and I are already budgeting out next year (going over the reciepts from this year, seeing what we can cut out to save cash etc.) I had wanted to attend a PAX for a few years, but just couldn't justify the money involved, especially since last year was the wedding honeymoon time, (money blackhole!) Before that the Wife was in Grad school, etc. When we heard that 343i was doing something Halo related, we cowboyed up, and put in. (FWIW, I enjoyed Halofest, but was a bit underwhelmed, it was like a large spaced out booth.)

    Now you're asking "Why did you say all of this in a thread about PAX's relative size?" Because it matters to what I'm about to say. There was a definite vibe this year that my wife and I felt of "Who are are these interlopers on our PAX?" Typically it was coupled with "It's too big this year, they should have had less people" or "It's all those Halofest jerks" (Which I has pointed out above, technically includes me!) or "This is my X PAX, and this one is the worst."
    Now there are various reasons I may have been sensitive to this vibe, perhaps it was those I hung out with, perhaps it's becuse I am sometimes very paranoid or perhaps it was because long timers (and midtimers) really are reflexively circling the wagons against us newcomers. (I discusses this with some others Sunday night, who said that didn't sound entirely unreasonable.)
    Which brings me to my point. DON'T DO this.

    Allow me to add a few clarifications and a final conclusion. First: No one was openly hostile or even really passively hostile towards me, my wife, my friends, etc. In fact, this is the reason we want to come back, everyone was so freaken nice! But that doesn't prevent this weird hipster geek "I knew PAX before it was cool" vibe.
    Secondly on my friends (who know me, know who they are and can out themselves if they want because they do read these forums but will not be named. But I know them, and know they're OK with my candor.) You could say "Find new friends!" but I've known these people for years, longer than I think I've known of PAX honestly. They can be condiuts sometimes of the vibe around them. I LOVE this about them, I really do. High energy, they got it, bad vuju, also they got it. They had this. That's how I know it was real (and fairly widespread.)
    Once PAX was over, and the chatting begin we discussed said vibe. And reached a realization. This is the first time where the generation of Gamers I'm part of (the 1980somethings give or take a few years), the generation I saw most represented at PAX, has come of age. We now have disposable income like I couldn't have imagined 10 years ago for myself. The ability to take vactions. The ability to attend PAX. This means that PAX will continue to grow (even if not at Prime, at other locations) because people who couldn't have dreamed of attending before, can now afford to make the trip. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING, THIS IS A GOOD THING! Those of us geeks from birth, PA readers at 13, now 26, are coming of the woodwork, you're meeting us. This doesn't make us any less a member of your kin. It shouldn't ruin your PAX, it should enhance it! My wife is a actual honest to God rocketscientist, and I'm a crazy, political-junkie, debate lover, reformed Biochemist turned philosopher who has written about how Sci-Fi is the best way to teach bioethics!. (I call that the Asimov career path). Don't you want to meet us? Aren't you glad to have us (and everyone like us. I'm not that egocentric, it's the only examples I know!)

    Now, Scalpers=bad, and maybe that contributed to this vibe, dunno (I had hear from an enforcer friend "hundreds" of fake passes, now I'm hearing here "thousands" I can't get my head around how that changes things.) But I needed to point it out, or else I was afraid it'd take hold.

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    I agree a lot of negativity has been put on the halofest attendees. Honestly, I think it should be directed to how much space halofest took up for what, from the sound of it, was an underwhelming display, even to halo fans. In the past, that space has been utilized to help spread out and give more space to certain aspects of PAX. This year, that space was taken away for something that was only of strong interest to a minority of attendees.

    E6LkoFK.png

  • tsrblketsrblke Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    To be fair, when I was up at HaloFest, I enjoyed my time up there a lot actually. And I know more than a few people who hardly left it.
    I think it was only underwhelming because it was hyped so much (maybe Firefall should take note!) and because even if we (and by we I mean I!) knew deep in the "denial" section of my brain that Halo 4 wasn't even going have a new trailer, I expected hands on for Anniversary (which comes out in 2.5 short months) and I could not find any of that. (Perhaps I was just lost?) But it was nice to play a fair number of multiplayer fights and not have my arse completely kicked like it is on live.

    Edit: And something else worth noting, attendees I talked to said "See Halofest makes for long lines and hurt my experience" at least one enforcer had a different opinion noting they mostly stayed to the annex and out of everyone's way. Niether is provable of course, but it gets to the idea it's all perception.

    tsrblke on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    A serious contributor to the overcrowding and longer lines is also the 3-5000 fake passes that were floating around. That's 3-5000 people per day extra that were not supposed to be there.

    E6LkoFK.png

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    to expand, that's 3-5000 extra people on an average of 20k people per day. The 67k attendance figure is over all three days, with a 3-day badge counting for 1 attend each day.

    so, like, 15-25% people more than what was expected to be there each day... really lucky that the fire marshal didn't shut it all down

    Dehumanized on
  • bitfawksbitfawks Registered User regular
    akjak wrote:
    I don't think PAX is getting too big, it's more that it encompasses more and more interests all the time, which draws more attendees.

    And rightfully so! Out of all of the video game conferences, this one is THE MOST CUSTOMER FACING! Not just that, but it's quite possibly beautiful.

    This was my first year.

    I saw Video Gamers learning Magic cards, D&D players learning completely obtuse games. Hell, I'm not a miniature person and I painted one for fun!

    This place, it may have turned monstrous, but it is a loving and caring thing that allows it's spawn to learn the ways of all things gaming. To embrace it.


    I fucking love PAX.

  • AngryLunchboxAngryLunchbox Registered User regular
    There needs to be some regulation on booths. Skyrim had, what, maybe 16 stations set up? Really? Your huge dragon/locked room took up more space than that. I went right to Skyrim on Sunday morning at 10, but didn't run there, and guess what; 2 hour wait.

    I thought ME3 did a fairly good job. They had 2 staging areas for people that were getting into the demo room. That helps mitigate the line somewhat.

    A serious look into getting a workable Fast-Pass type system would be a huge benefit. Bioware was doing this for The Old Republic. Saturday morning, we went right to the TOR line, and had been waiting over an hour when a guy from Bioware asked my friend's wife if she was tired. (She was sitting on a garbage can.) After talking to him for a little bit he gave us each a lanyard with a pass with a time on it. He told us to be at the front of the TOR ten minutes before that time. Worked really well, and we did get to check out some other smaller games before that time. Things we wouldn't otherwise have seen.

    Then you've got things like Firefall. They used up so much space and had huge empty areas that could've been filled with stuff. Same for End of Nations/Rift. I don't know if it's just marketing/PR people designing this stuff without thinking about the unused space or what, but someone needs to come up with a better way to use the space.

    And, in my opinion, they really need to limit badges even more. Yes, I understand the counterfeiting issue, but even 65k is too much. 55k is about what can reasonably be accommodated. I don't understand why companies would want to have people waiting in line for 2 hours+. That just means I now have to choose what to see. And I may choose to skip your presentation.

    And can we please get something to do back in the queue room. Running the same 30 second OnLive commercial for hours and having OnLive trying to get me interested in their stupid "console" sucks. Perhaps next time they should throw out wrecking balls too. Maybe I'm just super weak, but those enormous OnLive balls are quite heavy when they fall on you from 20 feet in the air.

    Also, as neat and kooky as the Skyrim hat was, when am I ever going to wear that again, Bethesda? Never is when. What would I wear all the time, until it literally fell apart? A t-shirt with the Skyrim log on it. Something to think about, and not just Bethesda, but everyone that gives out weird swag. (ME3 and many others.)

    I know I'm sounding like I had a terrible time and nothing went right this year, I really did have fun, but it just seems like each PAX takes a step forward in one direction, and two back in another.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Moe Fwacky wrote:
    I agree a lot of negativity has been put on the halofest attendees. Honestly, I think it should be directed to how much space halofest took up for what, from the sound of it, was an underwhelming display, even to halo fans. In the past, that space has been utilized to help spread out and give more space to certain aspects of PAX. This year, that space was taken away for something that was only of strong interest to a minority of attendees.

    Yeah, if you're there for something that's inside PAX, it's your PAX as much as mine. And I love me some Halo, but was completely underwhelmed by the size:value ratio of the Fest.

    But man, I hope nobody is made to feel like they don't belong there....whether it's tabletop, mmo, fps, cards, whatever you're into. If there were too many people there were just too many people, we shouldn't be looking for some demographic to axe.

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    I agree, there's no reason to ax a demographic. However, it seems that Halofest was very spread out and took out more space than it needed to for what content they actually had available.

    E6LkoFK.png

  • tsrblketsrblke Registered User regular
    @AngryLunchbox

    Swag is meant to make you remember the game not be useful. Those things certainly make people remember. I saw tons of people with their ME3 blades on, even if they never use them again, they'll remember it. As far as space utilization goes, the way a typical convention hall works, You pay for X amount of space, how you use it is mostly up to you (within reason obviously). I'm not sure how PAX could force places to have a specific level of density. Consider the Dance Central 2 stage, very low density, very high fun factor (IMHO). Clearly Firefall wanted to pay for a lot of space to have people hang out I guess. Not a good marketing strategy in my opinion, but hey it's there money.

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    I liked the Firefall booth itself. Easy to see people playing, very comfortable carpets and chairs to hang out around. The escalator advertisements weren't a big deal. The bathroom mirror advertisements were annoying as hell.

    Very disappointed that their big installation next to the PA store was there instead of more awesome sidewalk chalk art like in prior years. Of course, since I have no insight into the process I don't know if this is a problem of "they bought the space so we couldn't have the art" or "we couldn't get anyone to do the art, so the space was for sale".

  • CybitCybit Merch Underling RedmondRegistered User regular
    tsrblke wrote:
    I'm going to be completely honest with y'all here, it's the only way I know. So here it goes.
    This was my first PAX, I enjoyed it thoroughly, the wife and I are already budgeting out next year (going over the receipts from this year, seeing what we can cut out to save cash etc.) I had wanted to attend a PAX for a few years, but just couldn't justify the money involved, especially since last year was the wedding honeymoon time, (money blackhole!) Before that the Wife was in Grad school, etc. When we heard that 343i was doing something Halo related, we cowboyed up, and put in. (FWIW, I enjoyed Halofest, but was a bit underwhelmed, it was like a large spaced out booth.)

    Now you're asking "Why did you say all of this in a thread about PAX's relative size?" Because it matters to what I'm about to say. There was a definite vibe this year that my wife and I felt of "Who are are these interlopers on our PAX?" Typically it was coupled with "It's too big this year, they should have had less people" or "It's all those Halofest jerks" (Which I has pointed out above, technically includes me!) or "This is my X PAX, and this one is the worst."

    Now there are various reasons I may have been sensitive to this vibe, perhaps it was those I hung out with, perhaps it's becuse I am sometimes very paranoid or perhaps it was because long timers (and mid-timers) really are reflexively circling the wagons against us newcomers. (I discusses this with some others Sunday night, who said that didn't sound entirely unreasonable.)
    Which brings me to my point. DON'T DO this.

    Allow me to add a few clarifications and a final conclusion. First: No one was openly hostile or even really passively hostile towards me, my wife, my friends, etc. In fact, this is the reason we want to come back, everyone was so freaking nice! But that doesn't prevent this weird hipster geek "I knew PAX before it was cool" vibe.

    Secondly on my friends (who know me, know who they are and can out themselves if they want because they do read these forums but will not be named. But I know them, and know they're OK with my candor.) You could say "Find new friends!" but I've known these people for years, longer than I think I've known of PAX honestly. They can be conduits sometimes of the vibe around them. I LOVE this about them, I really do. High energy, they got it, bad juju, also they got it. They had this. That's how I know it was real (and fairly widespread.)

    Once PAX was over, and the chatting begin we discussed said vibe. And reached a realization. This is the first time where the generation of Gamers I'm part of (the 1980somethings give or take a few years), the generation I saw most represented at PAX, has come of age. We now have disposable income like I couldn't have imagined 10 years ago for myself. The ability to take vacations. The ability to attend PAX. This means that PAX will continue to grow (even if not at Prime, at other locations) because people who couldn't have dreamed of attending before, can now afford to make the trip. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING, THIS IS A GOOD THING! Those of us geeks from birth, PA readers at 13, now 26, are coming of the woodwork, you're meeting us. This doesn't make us any less a member of your kin. It shouldn't ruin your PAX, it should enhance it! My wife is a actual honest to God rocket scientist, and I'm a crazy, political-junkie, debate lover, reformed Biochemist turned philosopher who has written about how Sci-Fi is the best way to teach bioethics!. (I call that the Asimov career path). Don't you want to meet us? Aren't you glad to have us (and everyone like us. I'm not that egocentric, it's the only examples I know!)

    Now, Scalpers=bad, and maybe that contributed to this vibe, dunno (I had hear from an enforcer friend "hundreds" of fake passes, now I'm hearing here "thousands" I can't get my head around how that changes things.) But I needed to point it out, or else I was afraid it'd take hold.

    Hehe, I'll take responsibility as one of the friends (tsrblke and his wife and I go back to college together, and they stayed with me for a few days before the event) who channeled both ends of the vibe. To be honest, I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of humanity that got crushed together, and since no one had known (yet) of the massive counterfeit problem, it was assumed that Halo Fest was the culprit, when in fact, it was the counterfeiters. People felt like "OK, this is too many people, wtf happened??", and for the first PAX ever, I did see some serious attitude from some of the attendees (which the enforcers dealt with as best as possible). Also, the amount of people who were attending PAX and didn't know who Penny-Arcade was kind of made me facepalm a bit.

    To me, honestly, I think the vast majority of it comes down to the counterfeiters, which led to waaay more people. Understand that there were 3000-5000 counterfeit passes, which means 9000-15000 attendees, in the sense that a three-day badge is counted as three attendees. So, you're talking 15-25% increase in people, potentially over freaking fire code. If you've been going to this for a couple of years now, and all of a sudden it goes from "organized chaos" to "sardine can", and you didn't know about the counterfeiters, it was easy to blame Halo Fest.

    But your point does remain, as with anything in the history of humanity that becomes popular, we must fight the natural urge to close ranks / close off. Especially as many of us have been told most of our lives that what we enjoy is "stupid" and "uncool", and now find new people coming in because it is "cool", we can't take our (rightful) anger from our pasts out onto our new compatriots.

    Also, way to take credit for my idea about why PAX blew up in the last couple of years. :-p I told you it was all of us nerds / dorks / geeks hitting the point where we had disposable income.

    So tsrblke, I never got to finish my story I was telling you from Sunday. (That, or I forgot I told you and am repeating it). I'm in line for...Omegathon maybe, and there's a couple next to me. We start talking, and I ask what game they play. They say "oh, we just play Halo...I know, one of "those console gamers". At which point I felt fairly embarrassed that PAX had given that vibe, and went on a rant to them about how (a) I switched to console gaming because its cheaper then PC gaming, and (b) this is the last place on earth that should be about judging others. Hell, if someone asked me why PAX is what it is, it's because 90% of the people who come to PAX have been judged negatively by others for their hobbies, and PAX is a place where you can be yourself and be liked for who you are.

    If the counterfeiting is dealt with (which, to be fair, PA couldn't have guessed that professionals would start getting involved in the mass that they were), I think that will deal with most, if not all, of the "aura" problems.

  • tvethiopiatvethiopia Registered User regular
    i think one way to address the negativity is really just to look at this issue not as there being 'too many' people somehow ruining pax, but instead as "how can we better accommodate all the awesome people who want to be a part of this awesome thing?" the people are NOT the problem. pax is all about people/community, right?

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  • WapieWapie Registered User
    I just figure Convention/Expo = crowding.
    I go to three cons a year (SC, ECC and PAX) Guess I'm used to feeling like a little fishy stuck in a can haha

  • matguymatguy Registered User regular
    tvethiopia wrote:
    i think one way to address the negativity is really just to look at this issue not as there being 'too many' people somehow ruining pax, but instead as "how can we better accommodate all the awesome people who want to be a part of this awesome thing?" the people are NOT the problem. pax is all about people/community, right?

    I like that thought. While the scalpers selling fake badges were the avenue that people used to get in, it's the people that wanted to get in that filled up the place, and not because they're un-desirable. I don't like the idea of limiting attendance, I was frustrated that BYOC was smaller this year, I was hoping to hear that there was some more expansion that would make selling more badges possible. While I appreciate the logistics issues surrounding making it bigger, I'd like to see it easier for more people to enjoy what I've enjoyed.

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    They can't really expand because the number of badges legitimately available is basically the maximum amount they can sell without breaking fire code and getting PAX shut down.

  • CybitCybit Merch Underling RedmondRegistered User regular
    Bingo. Plus, even as someone who loves being around people to the point of it being unhealthy, you can't pack so many people into an area where it becomes physically bad for everyone. I wish PAX were in a bigger area. But based on the reality of the situation, we have to do what we can.

  • ptriz21_teamkillptriz21_teamkill Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Do we know that it was the scalpers distributing passes fake passes? And were they promptly addressed? I don't think you can "shut down" can you? I know scalping isn't illegal in some places (nor do I think it should be) but is it illegal if its fake?

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  • AlatheiaAlatheia Registered User
    Do we know that it was the scalpers distributing passes fake passes? And were they promptly addressed? I don't think you can "shut down" can you? I know scalping isn't illegal in some places (nor do I think it should be) but is it illegal if its fake?

    Some of the people that had the fake badges said they were from a scalper, some bought them off of people walking out the door, and a few said they got them off of craigslist, they were coming from many different sources. Selling fakes is illegal as far as I know.

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    Forging tickets to events is a bigtime federal offense, and also super illegal at the state level for pretty much every state. You can thank your local baseball, football or hockey team.

  • tvethiopiatvethiopia Registered User regular
    They can't really expand because the number of badges legitimately available is basically the maximum amount they can sell without breaking fire code and getting PAX shut down.

    this is what i mean about looking instead at how to best accommodate the volume of people. maybe it can just be chocked up to the fake badges, but if not, and if pax prime continues to grow, maybe a change of venue could be considered, or some other creative way to allow for the increasing popularity. i realize they can't necessarily accommodate every single person who might want to go and there has to be a cutoff somewhere, but if pushing max capacity continues to be a problem, it might be worth looking at relocation. consider pax east: the hynes convention center was way too packed, but pa didn't just cut back passes the next year, they moved to a larger space and things were more comfortable and fit a larger crowd in 2011.

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  • DracilDracil Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    beta_angel wrote:
    As it comes to the amount of people, I still think they should cap attendance at a smaller amount, especially if counterfeits are going to continue to be an issue like this. I have no problem with the crowds, but there is a certain comfort level that I believe could be worked on.

    I've seen several suggestions to reduce the attendance numbers. To this, I have to ask back, would you be willing to be one of the people who couldn't attend next year because they reduced the cap?

    It just strikes me as wrong to ask/force other people to not attend just so one can have a personally better experience. Obviously people are willing to attend even with the current amount of crowding, so it seems like the suggestion is artificially limiting the supply for no good reason (kinda like all those closed booths with long lines :P)

    It makes more sense to meet the pent-up demand by increasing the supply, most probably by some sort of expansion. Increasing the imbalance between supply and demand would just make the black market problem (scalpers/forgeries) become even worse.

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