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Is pax south worth traveling for?

PAXisdopePAXisdope Registered User regular
I've only attended PAX Prime. Is PAX South worth traveling to from out of state to attend? I noticed tickets aren't sold out yet so just wondering if this event is mainly for locals or what.

Posts

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    That is incredibly subjective, but there are many people who travel from significant distances to go and have fun. It's PAX. If you go primarily for the expo hall, last year's south expo hall was not quite as crazy as east or prime, but for me that's a good thing. Everything else was just PAX.

    PavioGhostDan
  • AractorAractor Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    PAXisdope wrote: »
    I noticed tickets aren't sold out yet so just wondering if this event is mainly for locals or what.
    I wouldn't assume it's mainly for locals any more than East or Australia.

    Every PAX is going to be unique, based on the location's culture + the various events that happen during the event.

    Attended: Prime 2011, Prime 2012, Prime 13, Prime 2014
    Enforced: West 2015, West 2016
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  • The AviatrixThe Aviatrix Registered User regular
    As stated, it's entirely subjective.

    If you want triple A titles and a whole lot of flash? Probably not.
    South feels more table top imo, and really got me more into that aspect of gaming. This feeling is greatly helped by their indie showcase being table top games. There will still be plenty of cool video games around, but don't expect anything too big. The biggest booth last year, iirc, was Grey Goo/Dreadnaught. That's not counting the Borderlands room.
    It's also a lot smaller. If I were to guess (I don't have numbers or anything, just feeling based on memory) I'd guess the expo hall at South last year was about the size of the 6th floor expo hall at Prime.

    To me, it feels like a much more relaxed PAX. Prime is non-stop with little room for breaks... South is chill and spending an hour or two to play a new board game with strangers is time well spent. And I don't mind waiting in a long line at South.

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  • ScaryGaryScaryGary Registered User regular
    As stated, it's entirely subjective.

    If you want triple A titles and a whole lot of flash? Probably not.
    South feels more table top imo, and really got me more into that aspect of gaming. This feeling is greatly helped by their indie showcase being table top games. There will still be plenty of cool video games around, but don't expect anything too big. The biggest booth last year, iirc, was Grey Goo/Dreadnaught. That's not counting the Borderlands room.
    It's also a lot smaller. If I were to guess (I don't have numbers or anything, just feeling based on memory) I'd guess the expo hall at South last year was about the size of the 6th floor expo hall at Prime.

    To me, it feels like a much more relaxed PAX. Prime is non-stop with little room for breaks... South is chill and spending an hour or two to play a new board game with strangers is time well spent. And I don't mind waiting in a long line at South.

    I agree with this 100%

    As someone who travels Down from Alaska, and comparing it to this years pax prime. Pax South was just a better time for relaxation and board games and fun with friends.

    Nintendo was also at Pax south with 3ds stuff last year and that was pretty cool. if there are more booths this year great. if not .. Great, I know I will have a great time no matter what.

    Plus, San Antonio is okay!

    First Pax: Pax South 2015!!!
    Second Pax: PAX PRIME 2015!!
    Third Pax: PAX SOUTH 2016 GET HYPE!!!!
    Proud Alaskan!
  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    I agree with the prior replies. I've been to several Primes and Easts, and South (where I live) was extremely small and relaxed. The biggest presenter was Gearbox since they usually hold a fan event in their own part of Texas, but they moved it to South instead. If not for them, developer participation would have been really light.

    Having said that, making predictions based on tickets or even on last year's event, should be taken with a huge grain of salt. South was a first-year event. Neither attendees nor developers/publishers knew what to expect. So it was largely just to test the waters, make sure there was some interest, and that San Antonio was a viable location. Now that they've gotten that out of the way, I expect a much larger show this year. Robert Khoo has already stated that the number of 3-day passes sold last year were sold in the first 10 minutes this year. So tickets still being available means almost nothing. The event space is enormous, so that isn't limiting the show's growth at all.

    If you are on the fence, and don't want to spend the money to travel, give South a year or two to show what kind of support it receives from the industry. If you had come last year hoping to play demos, see new game trailers, or pick up swag, you would have been sorely disappointed compared to Prime. I spent most of my time at Gearbox events (they gave away tons of pins, which was cool) and playing board games, so I definitely had fun.

  • MartossMartoss Registered User regular
    If none of that sways you, I have one thing to add:

    Texas BBQ. Boom.

    OpSteelKetarThe Hanged ManEtaoinFlyingTurtleAractorTofystedethScaryGary
  • gunadicgunadic Registered User regular
    San Antonio (and Southern Texas in general) in January is a slice of heaven.

    RILMSFlyingTurtle
  • OfficeZombieOfficeZombie Registered User regular
    gunadic wrote: »
    San Antonio (and Southern Texas in general) in January is a slice of heaven.

    This will be my first time going to Texas, I look forward to something other than the frozen wasteland that is Toronto in January.

    RILMSFlyingTurtle
  • Bartoni33Bartoni33 Southern IllinoisRegistered User regular
    [quote="japester;33505998" If you had come last year hoping to play demos, see new game trailers, or pick up swag, you would have been sorely disappointed. [/quote]

    That was me last year in a nutshell. Other than the GW2 expansion reveal their wasn't anything for me. If you are not a fan of table-top/indie PC gaming or don't like listening to people talk about the inner workings of the business then you might want to stay away, or at least wait until closer to the Con to see who/what will be there. I did enjoy SA though. I spent more time sightseeing than at the Con. It was a nice relaxing vacation for me, with a few trips to the Con.

  • PAXisdopePAXisdope Registered User regular
    So what are there the chances of there being any more video games/developers there than last year? Are there any hints out there that the event will be expanded?

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    I am certain it will be expanded, but there's no way to tell for sure what will be there until the schedule and maps come out about a month prior to the show.

    mayappleAractor
  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    PAXisdope wrote: »
    So what are there the chances of there being any more video games/developers there than last year? Are there any hints out there that the event will be expanded?

    Yeah, "more" is pretty much guaranteed. But it all depends on what games are coming out when and what the rest of the international con schedule looks like. Attendance drives advertising power (for the most part--there are lots of little variables that contribute to a smaller degree). As PAX South grows, it becomes more attractive to publishers.

    mayapple
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    I did enjoy wandering around the expo hall last year and trying a lot of the indie PC games. The one that most caught my eye there ended up actually getting released and I bought it and enjoyed it and I'd never have even heard of it if it weren't for PAX South, so chalk another win up for South.

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  • TheAggroCraigTheAggroCraig Ultimate Lucky Douchebag MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    PAX South last year was a PAX but somehow felt stress free. It was fun, enjoyable, and I had a ton of friends there who traveled for what looks to be the last inaugural PAX for at the very least a while. Almost all of the people who went last year are going back again because we had such a blast.

    tl;dr if you can afford to go, go. PAX is PAX no matter the location.

    mayapple
  • KhadourKhadour Dinosaur Cupcake Hillsboro, ORRegistered User regular
    Keep in mind that not only was last year the first year for South, it was also REALLY close to East, so I think that hampered Expo participation some. They are much further apart on the calendar this year, and that may spur some additional representation . . .

    Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error - Linus Pauling
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    mayapple
  • mayapplemayapple Registered User regular
    Khadour wrote: »
    Keep in mind that not only was last year the first year for South, it was also REALLY close to East, so I think that hampered Expo participation some. They are much further apart on the calendar this year, and that may spur some additional representation . . .

    There were like three national cons going on within a two week period on the same dates as South as well. And several worlds events for big games too. It was kind of a wonky weekend for things. It's Pax. If you like gaming and gaming things, you will enjoy it.

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  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    mayapple wrote: »
    It's Pax. If you like gaming and gaming things, you will enjoy it.

    I think if you just want to meet other gamers and enjoy that friendly, cool PAX vibe, I agree with you 100%.

    But since the OP specifically said they only experienced Prime, which offers much, much more to do, it's a valid question. For example, I don't really collect swag these days, so I offered to pick up some for friends who typically attend Prime and East. They gave me a laundry list of titles and publishers they'd love stuff from. Ultimately, none of them were in attendance. Save Nintendo. And I think all they had was a paper Zelda mask on a stick. Would I personally have noticed? Nope. I was happy with Gearbox, the indie board game showcase, and the open board game meetups each night. But I was mildly shocked that I had zilch to offer my friends in terms of gifts. Different strokes for different folks. :P

    mayapple
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah that's definitely why I qualified my response with expo expectations. The non-expo stuff is mostly the same although east and south have MUCH more tabletop than prime does. Expo is a different animal and varies wildly.

    mayapple
  • PavioPavio Registered User regular
    Did anyone go to the first year of PAX East and also PAX South? If you did, how did they compare? I'm curious because what I've heard is that East was smallish and didn't have much AAA participation at first either, but I didn't go and I really have no idea. I know it's great now for that but I'm curious if we can expect to see the same growth with South as with East.

    That said, I had a blast at South. I really enjoy the expo hall of Prime and the AAA participation but that's not the only reason I go, but I agree with the other statements about being disappointed if you're expecting the expo hall to be like Prime or East (so far).

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  • TheAggroCraigTheAggroCraig Ultimate Lucky Douchebag MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    Pavio wrote: »
    Did anyone go to the first year of PAX East and also PAX South? If you did, how did they compare? I'm curious because what I've heard is that East was smallish and didn't have much AAA participation at first either, but I didn't go and I really have no idea. I know it's great now for that but I'm curious if we can expect to see the same growth with South as with East.

    That said, I had a blast at South. I really enjoy the expo hall of Prime and the AAA participation but that's not the only reason I go, but I agree with the other statements about being disappointed if you're expecting the expo hall to be like Prime or East (so far).

    East 2010 was my first ever PAX, so it was weird. The biggest developer I remember there was Nintendo, as they had Pokemon HG/SS. It was also at the Hynes Convention Center and was just a mess because that convention center is terrible for PAX.

    In comparison, South was in a weird spot in 2015 because of how close it was to East. It was 6 weeks before East, so hopefully going forward it's more spread out. I'm sure there were other factors also, but this one definitely didn't help.

  • shepdshepd Registered User regular
    gunadic wrote: »
    San Antonio (and Southern Texas in general) in January is a slice of heaven.

    This will be my first time going to Texas, I look forward to something other than the frozen wasteland that is Toronto in January.

    Me too! Same feeling, coming from Kitchener. :) Double interesting as I'm going to drag a travel trailer all the way there. :hydra:

    I've been to East several times, which was generally good, though last year didn't seem to have the punch the other years did. Figured maybe a change of venues might help. That and I'm not a fan of the city of Boston. Oh, I'm sure plenty of you like it, but for me, I'd never have visited except for PAX, and it just confirmed that my sense of where to visit (for me) and where not to is dead on. :)

    I can't wait to see the roads turn from snowy, to icy, to wet, to dry! And to slowly go from maximum blasting heat in the SUV to A/C! Yes, I do have 5 lb sleeping bags...

    OfficeZombieRILMS
  • OfficeZombieOfficeZombie Registered User regular
    shepd wrote: »
    gunadic wrote: »
    San Antonio (and Southern Texas in general) in January is a slice of heaven.

    This will be my first time going to Texas, I look forward to something other than the frozen wasteland that is Toronto in January.

    Me too! Same feeling, coming from Kitchener. :) Double interesting as I'm going to drag a travel trailer all the way there. :hydra:

    I've been to East several times, which was generally good, though last year didn't seem to have the punch the other years did. Figured maybe a change of venues might help. That and I'm not a fan of the city of Boston. Oh, I'm sure plenty of you like it, but for me, I'd never have visited except for PAX, and it just confirmed that my sense of where to visit (for me) and where not to is dead on. :)

    I can't wait to see the roads turn from snowy, to icy, to wet, to dry! And to slowly go from maximum blasting heat in the SUV to A/C! Yes, I do have 5 lb sleeping bags...

    Nice

    I actually like Boston. I was at pax 2 years ago and the weather was incredible. I walked the entire freedom trail, did the aquarium, went to Harvard and I saw a red sox game. I thought for a big city it was clean and pretty well designed.

    I couldn't make it last year as weather cancelled my flight. I'll be taking another risk flying in January this year, but hopefully I get lucky and I can get out.

  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    Pavio wrote: »
    Did anyone go to the first year of PAX East and also PAX South? If you did, how did they compare?

    I was working the event from the second East (didn't attend the first), and even that second year was tiny compared to Prime. It's really impossible to compare the three US events over their history because PAX has become a major phenomenon. Combine that with all the industry changes, and it's anyone's guess.

    As for comments about less punch, I'm not surprised. That can vary with release schedules, but as an ex-insider I can also attest to industry cutbacks due to con overload. It was expensive enough attending Prime and East with big booths. Then add Australia (HUGE expense) and now a third US PAX. Not to mention the events overseas. Even if PR budgets are expanded (and many have contracted), you get less bang at each event because it's spread so thin.

    I love Boston, but compared to Prime and South, I hated the actual event location. As others have said, it's a no-man's land. You have to grab a cab or have a vehicle to reach anything. I tended to walk back to my hotel, and it was a real trek. That's the big plus for South. Although San Antonio is technically one of the biggest US cities, it has a very small-town vibe. The actual downtown is minuscule. You can take a 15 minute stroll in a square and see all the big downtown sights. It's that small. So you don't feel lost in a big metropolis (office buildings, warehouses, business districts, etc). Every possible need of a casual tourist is catered to right there, within a few minutes walk. Food and entertainment ranging from $ to $$$ is right there.

  • caninefangcaninefang Registered User new member
    edited October 2015
    pax south will be bigger this year. im hope. the reason for that is if you didnt notice all the construction behind the hotel is the NEW expansion of the convention center and it SHOULD be open and ready by the time pax south rolls around. so my bet is that pax will be stuffed into the new expansion of the convention center

    caninefang on
  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    Physical space wasn't a limiting factor. There was plenty of unused space, even with other events going on.

    The expansion is a good sign, though, as it will make the space even more attractive to PAX and other businesses going forward. ^_^

  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    Pavio wrote: »
    Did anyone go to the first year of PAX East and also PAX South? If you did, how did they compare? I'm curious because what I've heard is that East was smallish and didn't have much AAA participation at first either, but I didn't go and I really have no idea. I know it's great now for that but I'm curious if we can expect to see the same growth with South as with East.
    I've been to the first East, Aus and South, and all of them were smaller with less AAA support then a fully formed and operational PAX. Intentionally so. Starting small and growing as needed worked for Prime, and so PAX has continued that trend for the others. Not starting quite as small as Prime 2004 of course. South will continue to grow until it fills the space and as it grows AAA's will come in greater numbers and we will continue to have the other aspects of PAX that make it great. But there are now 3 American PAXen a year now, and not all AAA's will want to spring for a booth at every PAX, such is life.

    -Beker/Erick
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    mayapplecabsy
  • PAXisdopePAXisdope Registered User regular
    I made my decision and am coming. Staying at the La Quinta. Where are the after parties at? :) Any where around the convention center where you can buy liquor?

  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    This is San Antonio. You will be handed a complimentary bottle of liquor and a taco when you arrive at the airport. (If you are driving in, visit a State Visitor Bureau location for your free liquor and taco.)

    PAXisdopeRILMS
  • MrBroadstoneMrBroadstone Registered User regular
    PAXisdope wrote: »
    I made my decision and am coming. Staying at the La Quinta. Where are the after parties at? :) Any where around the convention center where you can buy liquor?

    Parties are organized a lot closer to the event. People tend to make threads.
    A lot of places sell alcohol The riverwalk has a bunch of bars and you can carry an open container on the riverwalk, which you can't normally do on surface streets or in pretty much anywhere else in the country.

    PAXisdope
  • jj4thjj4th Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    Pax South did sell out last year, but only at the last minute, and I recall the San Antonio CoC saying something along the lines of 45-60k attendees. This year they are increasing the amount of space, and I would presume selling more tickets too. The "problem" with South will always be it's proximity to Pax East, at least until the point where it gains enough momentum, not every vendor can hit both each year.

    If all you care about is Expo hall demos, South wasn't the best last year... but if you went for tabletop, shows, panels, it was great. Also I REALLY appreciated the MUCH shorter lines than at the other two PAX conferences. You literally could do everything you wanted to, and not really have to worry about lines being too long. The indie showcase was also fairly respectable, though not as large as Prime's.

    The tabletop at Pax South was arguably the largest and most populated tabletop yet, and even at Prime I've never seen the MTG section that ridiculously full. If there was anything I could have wished for, it would have been more tabletop vendors, East is still better for that. Also would like to see a larger WotC presence with more D&D, or Pathfinder.

    Now let's talk about the city outside the convention hall. San Antonio is a tourism destination, our weather is "walk-outside"-able all times of the year, with relatively dry winters. The riverwalk never really shuts down (except for the one week a year where they drain it) and there are plenty of decent destinations for food and/or libations. I'd say that Seattle is a bit more "pretty", at least when it's not raining, and Boston is more "historic" if you're into that kind of thing, but both of them are twice as expensive as Downtown San Antonio. Also, at least in Boston, you're going to have to travel far, far away from the convention center, aside from the Westin, there is nothing nearby.

    A trip to San Antonio will typically set you back half what Pax East or Pax Prime would in airfare, and there are $100 a night hotels within a 1/2 mile walk of the expo hall. So in that regard, it's by far the cheapest Pax to attend.

    jj4th on
    RILMS
  • The AviatrixThe Aviatrix Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    jj4th wrote: »
    A trip to San Antonio will typically set you back half what Pax East or Pax Prime would in airfare, and there are $100 a night hotels within a 1/2 mile walk of the expo hall.

    I'm sure it varies by origin, but I could not find anything cheaper than Prime in regards to flight. The cheapest flight I could find was more than double what I pay to fly to Prime, and it's not even direct. (There was only one direct flight I could find from ANY of the three international airports near me.)
    And a quick check on flights to Boston are cheaper than SAT as well.

    The Aviatrix on
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  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    Yeah, airfare is the one exception to the overall inexpensiveness of this city. The problem is that we are not a hub. Our airport is tiny and few direct flights come here. Most trips will require extra stops, hence higher airfare costs. But everything else is very cheap here. Despite being one of the most populous cities in the US (I've lived in NYC, Seattle, Miami, etc), San Antonio is very spread out. It doesn't have a huge urban center. And the income level is relatively low. So prices are kept low, too, even in the touristy heart of the town around the Rivercenter. Only in the last few years have the national convention promoters considered this a viable location, so local businesses haven't caught up and started gouging......yet. LOL

  • Bartoni33Bartoni33 Southern IllinoisRegistered User regular
    edited October 2015
    jj4th wrote: »
    A trip to San Antonio will typically set you back half what Pax East or Pax Prime would in airfare, and there are $100 a night hotels within a 1/2 mile walk of the expo hall.

    I'm sure it varies by origin, but I could not find anything cheaper than Prime in regards to flight. The cheapest flight I could find was more than double what I pay to fly to Prime, and it's not even direct. (There was only one direct flight I could find from ANY of the three international airports near me.)
    And a quick check on flights to Boston are cheaper than SAT as well.

    I'm flying out of St. Louis and Southwest Airlines has multiple daily flights to SAT. SWA does not advertise on sites like Expedia or Priceline and their ilk. You have to go directly to their website. A roundtrip nonstop from STL to SAT with Early Bird boarding was just over $400.

    Bartoni33 on
  • The AviatrixThe Aviatrix Registered User regular
    Bartoni33 wrote: »
    jj4th wrote: »
    A trip to San Antonio will typically set you back half what Pax East or Pax Prime would in airfare, and there are $100 a night hotels within a 1/2 mile walk of the expo hall.

    I'm sure it varies by origin, but I could not find anything cheaper than Prime in regards to flight. The cheapest flight I could find was more than double what I pay to fly to Prime, and it's not even direct. (There was only one direct flight I could find from ANY of the three international airports near me.)
    And a quick check on flights to Boston are cheaper than SAT as well.

    I'm flying out of St. Louis and Southwest Airlines has multiple daily flights to SAT. SWA does not advertise on sites like Expedia or Priceline and their ilk. You have to go directly to their website. A roundtrip nonstop from STL to SAT with Early Bird boarding was just over $400.

    I always fly Southwest due to free checked bags - though I do check other airlines generally, just in case there is a big enough price difference for me to pay for bags (it's yet to happen). I'll be spending an hour in SAN en route to SAT via Southwest. But it works out. I have a friend who is going to South from SAN :D so we'll be on the same plane for that leg of my flight. In both directions.
    Flying Southwest to SEA costs me under $200 round trip. (SMF/OAK/SFO are my nearby airports.)

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  • Bartoni33Bartoni33 Southern IllinoisRegistered User regular
    Bartoni33 wrote: »
    jj4th wrote: »
    A trip to San Antonio will typically set you back half what Pax East or Pax Prime would in airfare, and there are $100 a night hotels within a 1/2 mile walk of the expo hall.

    I'm sure it varies by origin, but I could not find anything cheaper than Prime in regards to flight. The cheapest flight I could find was more than double what I pay to fly to Prime, and it's not even direct. (There was only one direct flight I could find from ANY of the three international airports near me.)
    And a quick check on flights to Boston are cheaper than SAT as well.

    I'm flying out of St. Louis and Southwest Airlines has multiple daily flights to SAT. SWA does not advertise on sites like Expedia or Priceline and their ilk. You have to go directly to their website. A roundtrip nonstop from STL to SAT with Early Bird boarding was just over $400.

    I always fly Southwest due to free checked bags - though I do check other airlines generally, just in case there is a big enough price difference for me to pay for bags (it's yet to happen). I'll be spending an hour in SAN en route to SAT via Southwest. But it works out. I have a friend who is going to South from SAN :D so we'll be on the same plane for that leg of my flight. In both directions.
    Flying Southwest to SEA costs me under $200 round trip. (SMF/OAK/SFO are my nearby airports.)

    Well that makes sense seeing you are on the West coast. For me it is much more expensive flying to any of the other 2 Cons. Not that I have. I would love to but I can't seem to be online in the few minutes tickets are available for those.

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