You may have noticed by now that we spent the weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo gaming, paneling, partying and having a generally kickass time. We had heard word that this year’s PAX would be larger than last year’s, and I definitely noticed that the show floor was quite a bit larger than it was in 2007, but it was hard to get a feel for just how many more people flocked out to the expo.
The final numbers have finally rolled in, and it’s even more successful than projected: Big Download confirmed 58,500 nerds came to beautiful Seattle to attend the three day festival. Considering that 37,000 attended in 2007 and that projected numbers were between 45,000 and 50,000, this is a hell of a victory for Jerry and Mike’s little shindig.
Robert Khoo, Show Director for the expo, commented on potentially addressing crowding issues for PAX 2009:
“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.”
I never had any major trouble with crowding this year, although I did hear a few people mention that some games did not have a play time limit, causing lines of people waiting to play to be held up longer than they should have been. Did you attend and find this was an issue for you?