Having just finished my first day (and only day this time) at PAX Australia, I though I’d jot down some thoughts and provide a few snapshots of the day.
First, the thoughts:
- Any fears organisers had for low attendance for the first PAX have been well and truly put to rest. Day 1 was packed and the weekend will only be more so.
- Organisationally, this even pretty much rocked. The morning line-up was extremely well organised, everything was clearly signposted and there were plenty of staff on hand. Only criticism I’d make is that there weren’t enough ATMs and big queues, so bring a stash of cash for food (most merch people did take EFTPOS). Phone coverage was mixed, though there would have been plenty of pressure on all the networks.
- There was a pretty poor showing of some of the big game companies, who were probably sitting back to see the response to PAX and will be salivating to come back next year. Facepalm of the event goes to Microsoft, who had an Xbox One booth sitting there with nothing in it but an empty display case. It was a source of much interest and frivolity from participants given the Xbox shenanigans at E3.
- We forget sometimes in Australia that two of the world’s biggest MMOs are League of Legends and World of Tanks – both had by far and away the most significant presences in the Exhibition Hall. LoL had a huge audience throughout the day.
- The range of panels and activities is of a level that a multi-day ticket would be a worthwhile investment. I felt like I barely scratched the surface.
- The Oculus Rift, if you didn’t already realise, is going to change the face of gaming in the coming year. I spent 5 minutes with it, on a non-1080HD version of the headset, and was still mightily impressed. As someone heavily susceptible to motion sickness, I was wary but had no issues at all using the helicopter sim game I was using, although the roller coaster game I saw someone else trying out might have been a different story.
- PAX, if it returns next year bigger and even better, is easily going to be Australia’s pre-eminent game expo.
Finally, it’s over to you: did you go to PAX and if so what did you like and dislike? What do you expect to change next year?