Penny Arcade Expo East: Nothing small here
Believe it or not, there were crowds gathered on Friday doing something else besides waiting for an iPad 2. About 60,000 people swarmed Boston for Penny Arcade East, a major convention for video game fans on the East Coast.
PAX doesn’t garner as much media attention as industry shows like E3 in Los Angeles each summer, where major games companies announce new products. While there aren’t as many reporters or or executives in attendance, PAX EAST is still a big event for gamers- the hoards of people who help make the $60.4 million video game industry bigger than Hollywood.
It’s for people like Andrew Hydrusko, a 23-year-old student who drove from Delaware with four friends so he could dress as his favorite Mega Man character, Protoman, at the show. He donned a poncho, bullets and a painted motorcycle helmet reminiscent of a power ranger, as he waited to play Guild Wars 2, an upcoming MMO game from NCsoft.
The publicly-traded Korean company lured people away from the main hall to a neighboring hotel so fans could fully immerse themselves in their game. With a raffle, an open bar and hors d’oeuvres promised, the lines got just as crazy as anything on the show floor next door.
Randall Price, senior vice president of global business at ArenaNet, which develops MMOs for NCsoft, says while PAX East isn’t as high-profile as some other shows, it’s his chance to interact one-on-one with passionate players of Guild Wars, which has sold 7 million copies since 2005.
“PAX is huge for us. This is where our fans get to tell us face-to-face what they are thinking about our game and what they want to see,” Price says.
Photo: Main show floor at PAX EAST by Liana B. Baker