Each year the demand for PAX gets more and more fervent, with badges selling out in a record 6 hours this year. There have been a few folks that have taken to twitter, upset why they didn’t get a badge and how Penny Arcade “screwed them,” and “let the scalpers win” etc. Like we did last year, I wanted to answer some of the common questions to try and put them to rest.
Why don’t you print more badges?
There is only so much physical space we have for the show, so firecode and safety regulations dictate how many badges we are allowed to distribute.
Why don’t you do a lottery system? Why not do a pre-pre-reg system? Why not do system X?
The fundamental problem is supply vs. demand. We have the supply for 65-85k people. We estimate demand to be in the 130-150k range, meaning that no matter how you skin this, there will be about 75k people that aren’t happy because they wanted a badge and were unable to purchase one. All another system would do is take badges from one person and give them to another.
Why not give advance notice?
Besides there being a massive server load issue, it also gives scalpers the ability to mobilize their teams to buy lots of smaller orders. Not giving advance notice is actually pretty close to a lottery system, in the sense that if you were unavailable during that pre-registration window, you were not selected.
Speaking of scalpers, how is it that you let scalpers buy every/all of the/most of the badges?
Most people point to ebay and craigslist and say “Look at this, this is ridiculous.” A couple of things.
1. The number of badges you see from now until PAX for resale is still a very small percentage of the total badges we sold.
2. The average number of “sets” (Friday-Monday or 4-days) purchased per order was 1.45. Keep in mind the maximum number of sets you could purchase was 4. The % of orders that purchased the maximum number of sets was 2.1%
3. We have a number of flags for scalpers set, and after going through the data, we have identified those that clearly tried to “trick” the system and buy badges in bulk. All of their orders are being cancelled, so watch out when you buy on ebay/CL.
It’s also important to note that there are no anti-scalping laws in Washington, so “legally” we can do nothing.
I heard there was a bug in the system that allowed a person to skip the queue.
This was true but was resolved once we found out. Again, when you look at the stats in the above answer, you’ll see that very few people abused this.
I was sitting in the queue for 2 hours. Why?
The queue was implemented to throttle the load to the database/payment processing server to prevent it from melting. That database was churning along at maximum capacity for 6 straight hours with 25 other registration servers feeding into it, yet still, with tens of thousands of people trying to register at once, the wait was still there. ShowClix, the vendor we used, is looking into reducing this wait time.
Although there were some other minor hiccups with 2 boxes going bad in one of the clusters which caused some 50X errors, the queue worked as it was supposed to. The database and registration system didn’t die.
Six hours later and we are again completely sold out of badges. We apologize for any technical hiccups we ran into early in the day. Our partners over at ShowClix were scrambling to fix any issues that came up, and we have some solid takeaways as far as what we would do differently next year. Thank you again for your patience, and we’ll see you in August!
PAX Prime 2013 marks the 10th consecutive PAX Prime on planet Earth (The best planet! Take that, Jupiter!). It’s a fantastic milestone for an event that’s been escalating year after year since its inception and is only getting stronger. This year’s event promises to be especially great so get your passes, which are now on sale, and start the requisite twitching in anticipation.
The event will take place primarily at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. We say “primarily” because we’ve also got things happening in the Paramount, Grand Hyatt, Seattle Sheraton, Benaroya Hall, and so many more places throughout the city!
Panel submissions, PAX 10 applications, and hotel booking are now open as well. So get ready because it just got REAL.
Some people have asked when registration for Prime will open up this year. We haven’t locked down a date, but it’s not going to take place until after PAX East, so don’t worry. You’ve got some time.
Remember to keep an eye on the @Official_PAX twitter line for the most up to date details when we do officially announce!