PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

September 2, 2008 -

I knew that Pax was crowded but numbers released today indicate that an astounding 58,500 gamers streamed through the three-day game love-fest in Seattle.

Prior to the show, most predictions foresaw the PAX crowd in the 45,000-50,000 range.

37,000 attended in 2007. Big Download reports on comments by PAX's Robert Khoo:

Regarding the overcrowding, it was definitely a symptom of the popularity of the show, but not one that can't be overcome. At 2 or 3 of the main theatre events 3-4% of the line wasn't able to make it, but we hear those 3-4% loud and clear. We have a few ideas to manage that problem for 2009 including wristbands for popular events or just a straight-up hard count of people in line. The worst thing is if people line up for something and end up not getting in.


Comments

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

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YES.

Now I don't have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

Wait... I think that sounds like a good idea.

But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God's Sake... least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

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Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

PAX has other issues than lines. While most of the lines I stood in weren't bad but I was totally surprised by the size of the rooms there were using. Also why aren't the panelist on a dais. When a room is full and you are sitting in the back you can't even see who is talking. Also they need to telecast the main theater on to TVs throughout the convention center and was surprised when they didn't do it. In fact they need to telecast every panel.  I even asked about Ken Levine's keynote speech cause I wasn't about to stand in line for 1.5 hours to get in and see it.

Yes the ECA booth was nice, it was a good place to go and sit down for a while and have a snack while I figured out what I was going to do next.

 

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

See my post above, but essensially it boils down to them getting more people than they reasonably expected, and perhaps not being able to book the perfect venue. Unfortunately getting the convention space you want can be tricky. Unlike shopping for an apartment, there just isn't a massive amount of selection given what you want to do, so some things tend to get screwed over a bit. Panel rooms are a good example. Organizers do their best to slot the presentations into the rooms that will best fit them, but sometimes you just have to make do. Which means that some rooms are just too bloody small.

Dias' tend to rely on whatever the convention center has set up in their rooms. Some con venues have them, others don't. You can rent low stages to be used as said, but they're not cheap. You can expect to pay a lot to rent what is essensially an 8'x4' platform with 6" legs.

As for lines, it's an unfortunate reality of conventions. Most cons will have them for just about everything that exists. They're the bane of organizers existance, and in all reality getting rid of them is more akin to playing whack a mole than anything else.

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

PAX was awesome. And I'd like to nominate the ECA booth as coolest booth at the convention. I'd have never made it through all three days without the pretzels, cookies, and various high-caffeine drinks that were available to members. I was planning on renewing my membership anyway, and the free food and drink was the best surprise at PAX.

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

Khoo said: "We have a few ideas to manage that problem for 2009 including wristbands for popular events or just a straight-up hard count of people in line."

In the source article on Big Download he also said: "Key learnings for next year? Better line management and more space!"

Same problems they've had every single show.  They need to either fix it, or stop pretending that they can/want to fix it.

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

Or maybe, just maybe, have to deal with that they underestimated their own popularity??? Even if they fixed things from 2007 going to 2008, it might have not been enough, because they had a bigger crowd than they anticipated, therefore requiring a re-evaluation of it all, and then making a new system to handle the unexpected better.

So shoot them for being popular. Me, I'm impressed, and congradulate the PA folks for how much of a success this has become.

"I'm not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

"I'm stel not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

Well, nobody should shoot anybody.  If success is measured in how many people attended, then yes it's a great success.

The problem is that it's a bigger success than they anticipated year after year.  PA doesn't have to feel bad about that, because they can reasonably say, "Well those are the kinds of problems you WANT to have!"  But that's just self-congratulatory BS.  It's a problem.

It's also a problem that they've been talking about using a wristband system since the first PAX in 2004.  Why are they still talking about it?  Either do it, or don't and let the conversation end.  Either one would be totally valid as far as I'm concerned.

If Khoo's "3-4%" estimate is valid, we're talking over 2,000 people who felt shafted.  It's in PA's best interest to either start trying some of the fixes that have been on the table for four years, or just let attendees know that their mileage will vary when it comes to seeing the events they've paid to see.

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

Unfortunately crowd control and overcapacity issues aren't a new thing in most conventions. Try going to an anime convention or three (which probably has closer dynamics to PAX than any game convention that I've been to, including Gencon). The really popular events will usually get majorly packed very quickly. This is a fact of life and has to do with the venue that they've booked.

Additionally it comes down to the growth of the convention. Most cons seek to have a steady growth, so they figure "well, we had 30k attendees this year, let's try to get a place that can hold 35k". When an event ends up getting a lot more steam than anticipated, you can have 45k people show up unexpectedly. Given that convention venues have to be booked at the very least a year in advance (and for the really big cons like Gencon, as many as three and four years) you're left with the situation where you have a main event with insufficient capacity.

Finally, a lot of cons that are in the "initial startup phase" AKA "do or die" AKA "the first six to eight years" tend to have wobbly management, as the execs who run the corp set up to put the convention on (yes, most con organizations get incorporated simply to make overall operations smoother) are both trying to set up a stable corporate structure AND ride the bucking beast that is a growing convention. This gets more entertaining when the convention's growing substantially. Like PAX.

What E3 SHOULD BE!!!

The ESA should see this and friggin' cry themselves to sleep over what E3 should have been.

-Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007) Just to name a few...

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

Good for Gabe & Tycho.

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

I'm glad they're doing something about it. Being an hour early for an event and still not getting in twice! is not fun. Hanging out with people while in line... a little fun.

Maybe when they have the Boston PAX it'll split it up a little. Some people will go to that one, and some to the Seattle one. I don't think they can even get a bigger space for the main events. What will they do, rent a stadium?

On the smell. You obviously don't go to anime conventions very often. I was actually commenting on sunday that it was refreshing to come on the last day and not have that cornchip smell everywhere. Serves me right for going to anime cons.. <_<

On anime cons, I wonder if they couldn't simulcast the main evens onto projectors in the other theaters and TVs in the handheld lounges. I'd much rather watch the show on tv with my friends, eating and drinking and gaming, than sit in a big auditorium. I think this could help them spread out the crowd.

-I apologize-

-I apologize-

Re: PAX Crowd Tallied at 58K

And I enjoyed every minute of rubbing up against all 58 K people. Really I did. Although those of you who didn't shower should be shot for standing in an enclosed room with me. They're going to address the issues next year I'm sure. More space if they have to.

 
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