Yesterday's news that PAX Aus was moving to a new date for 2014 raised some concerns. The event will be held in Melbourne next year on the same weekend as the Melbourne Cup and only mere weeks after the expected date of the EB Expo in Sydney.
MCV Pacific spoke with PAX Aus content and community manager Guy Blomberg to discuss the new date, the new venue and the scheduling concerns.
So I take it that PAX Aus did well enough to do it all again next year, yeah? When did you commit to holding a second PAX Aus?
Honestly, we had committed to doing PAX Aus every year right from the very beginning. There was never really any question that it wouldn’t be an annual event, although the overwhelmingly positive response to the 2013 show certainly helped validate our decision!
The announce had two fairly significant bits of news. Let's start with the easy one. Why the change in venue? What problems did you have this year and how will the new venue address them?
Sure thing. It mainly comes down to the fact that we needed more space. I think we can all agree that one of the challenges we faced during the 2013 show was the theatre rooms couldn’t accommodate the amount of people who wanted to attend them, and with the new venue we’re going to have quite literally three times the amount of room in our theatre spaces. Plus, the CBD location should help to fix the public transport issues we previously had.
Will a new venue mean fewer queues for attendees?
Exactly, that’s definitely the idea.
Okay, the second bit of news: the date. Why move from July to Oct/Nov?
I’ll be the first to admit, July wasn’t ideal. It’s super close to E3, making it difficult for local publishers to get code for the public. It was the middle of winter in Melbourne, which I think confused some of our international guests. And it’s the start of a busy international convention period, not to mention we were on the same weekend as San Diego Comic Con. Moving to Oct/Nov pretty much alleviates all of these issues.
PAX is now just a few weeks after EB Expo (presumably). Is this PAX firing shots at EB?
Nah, not at all. I see them as two very different types of shows in completely different states, with PAX being very much a community driven festival type event.
How do you think Australia can accommodate the two expos?
It already has. Fact is, we are a country full of people who are passionate about games and gaming culture – and for us, as long as the community response is there, we will continue to build and grow the show to accommodate them each year!
What do you say to people who might struggle to afford or have the time to attend both since they're now so close together?
I say that we’ve given you over a year to plan ahead.
PAX is now the same weekend as the Melbourne Cup. Flights and hotels for interstate attendees are surely going to be considerably more expensive next year. Is PAX doing anything to manage that?
Yup, we’ve actually bulk booked hundreds of rooms for PAX attendee’s at OAK apartments all around Melbourne. (You can see more via: http://conferences.ozaccom.com.au/2014/pax14/index.aspx). We’re working on securing an airline partnership at the moment as well, and will keep people posted through our social media pages.
Finally, how else will PAX Aus be different next year?
The bigger venue means we can expand on all areas of the show – plus we have some great ideas we’re putting together for new spaces too. Consider the fact that 2013 was our launch year, and that we’ll be applying everything we learnt to making PAX Aus 2014 a bigger and better show in every respect.