On PAX Prime selling out. No not THAT kind of selling out.

I’ve written about PAX and my feelings on it before. Now, PAX Prime 2012 sold out in mere days, so fast that Mike was compelled to put up a post regarding how bad they feel about that.

There’s nothing much to be done about the fact Seattle simply isn’t a convention city.  By that I mean it’s not New Orleans or Atlanta or Las Vegas which can easily handle conventions of 150,000+ people.

But that isn’t really what PAX is, even though as mentioned in Mike’s post 200,000 people want to attend something that only 60,000 people can fit into.  As Robert Khoo said during our “Khoo and A” during PAX East when I asked him about PAX expansion: something like PAX doesn’t really scale well past a certain size under 100,000 people.

That makes sense because PAX is such an organic event.  I know that’s technically a goofy use of the word organic, but what I mean is that Penny Arcade simply provides the space and the enforcer infrastructure.  Everything else grows out of the people who show up.  It’s hard to say what makes PAX such an amazing event to attend except to say it’s never the same thing twice.

Every single time I present at PAX I’m scared shitless.  Every time I stand up in front of that crowd I think to myself “These people are spending their hard earned and short lived PAX time at something *I’m* presenting.” It has to be A game.  Period.  Anything less and I would be upset at having wasted a single precious second of people’s time at PAX.

I love walking through a stodgy hotel like the Grand Hyatt in downtown Seattle and finding that tabletop gamers have taken over every available space in the lobby, to the staff’s dismay.  I love someone discovering the classic game arcade room for the first time. I love the keynotes that embrace and empower the audience. I love those moments during the concerts at night when someone says or sings the thing that makes thousands of people feel like they are talking specifically to them.

PAX is really the convention by gamers for gamers, unlike e3 which is by the industry for the industry. (Sure, there are cons like QuakeCon or BlizzCon.  But those are centered around specific titles.  As a PAX attendee you can be a PC gamer, tabletop gamer, PS3 gamer, etc and have the same level of experience.)

I made a comment on Twitter to Mike to the effect that it wasn’t really his fault PAX sold out, and yet he replied that actually it felt like yeah it was sort of his fault.  And he’s not totally wrong.

But this is a good problem to have

Too many nerds want to hang out with fellow nerds at a place that exists to serve nerd-dom.  There’s probably some “online streaming” bandaids or “adding an extra day” bandaids to be done.  For now, it’s probably at least some cold comfort that something so awesome not only exists, but exists at a level of demand that cannot be satiated.


Isn’t this the type of thing we dreamed of for revenge when the jocks and popular people shunned us in school?  :>


  1. Trevor Lee says:

    Every year the Passes sell out faster and faster.I got mine this year. I always buy mine on day one but even that may not be enough next year. We’ll see.

  2. Daniel p says:

    Hello Steven. I thought I would contact you via everything you have, The email link doesn’t work. I know you are a former XBL Director but I need your help. surely you can help me.  I had my xbox live gamertag stolen and have been trying to get it back for a year. I am disabled and this is my only means of talking for the most part. I filled a police report and still Microsoft can’t seem to help me. I told them my old xbox broke so I bought a new xbox but because the serial doesn’t match they once again did not  help me. I have spent well over $2000 on XBL stuff. The thief can not prove what my former gamertags are and I can. I even have a email with the gamertag change that the thief made before they disabled my Windows Live Id. I have everything to prove who I am. Please help me I know you could clear this up.

  3. Daniel p says:

    I can prove who I am and even my disabled status. I will do whatever it takes to get my gamertag back. I am aware you may never read this and am very busy. It took me a lot of hard work doing odd jobs and what little I can do to buy all those games and tv shows. I am a very loyal Microsoft fan. I am not asking for pitty or anything and I am not a scammer. I have been brought to tears over this asit took me a long time to earn everything I bought. I am tiered of contacting XBL support over and over and making another case. my email is Slipknot1523@gmail.com. I will understand if you can not help me just thought I would try as I am at my wits end this is my little life here.

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