Now that E3 is “gone” everyone is wondering where the next gaming mecca is going to be held. All eyes have been looking at Penny Arcade Expo as the leading contender. While the show has only been around for three years major publishers like Microsoft and Nintendo have been supporting the PAX. Also attendance has steadily risen, the 2006 show is projected to attract around 17,000 visitors.
On the other hand Penny Arcade Expo is going to stick to being an event for hardcore gamers and not a media frenzy. Robert Khoo, Penny Arcade’s Director of Business Development, explains, "PAX is all about the community, and Penny Arcade is committed to keeping it that way. We don’t want to be E3. PAX is a place that hardcore gamers, whether they work in the industry, or not, come to be completely immersed in game play, game music and game culture. There will be some changes in store for PAX next year. In 2007, PAX will move to a venue triple the size of 2006, and we’ve already begun to receive reservations for booth space from AAA publishers. Based on recent conversations with our exhibitors and potential new exhibitors, we do expect publishers to continue – perhaps even more so than in the past – to reveal developmental phase games to hardcore game fans in order to get their direct input on unfinished products. In a way, PAX is like a giant 3-day beta test, which works really well for both developers and publishers. We’re also seeing an increase in PAX interest from the media – both gaming and mainstream."
Next year’s PAX is bound to be interesting since more publishers are going to be setting up booths and it’s going to be gamers who are going to play their betas, not just insiders. Hopefully, companies will take advantage of this and listen to what gamers have to say about their products before they’re placed on the market.