This weekend, thousands of gamers and fans will converge upon Seattle to experience the Penny Arcade Expo Prime event (PAX Prime for short), which will take place over the Labor Day weekend. Companies will also be in attendance, hosting panels and giving players the opportunity to go hands-on with upcoming titles, such as Super Smash Bros. and Evolve.
So why are these events such a huge draw for marketers? There are several reasons involved:
First off, the shows sell out every year. Whenever PAX badges go on sale, they’re gone within minutes, and people actually purchase sold ones on eBay in the hopes of attending the event. That shows the popularity behind said event, and anyone who’s anyone in game development would be wise to attend to get their attention.
Secondly, big companies enjoy attending the event. Microsoft is a big part of PAX every year, and Nintendo has become more and more involved with each passing year. It’s also a great place for third-party companies such as 2K Games and Ubisoft, who go all-out to promote their upcoming games while drawing in community members with special events.
The PAX events are also an ideal spot for developers of “indie” titles to get attention to their games, as most of the time they’re shut out of other events like the Electronic Entertainment Expo, since those are reserved for larger companies and projects. PAX Prime enables them to communicate with gamers directly, without having to worry about some form of middle man.
Finally, the event is simply “by gamers, for gamers,” so it allows marketers to really draw on their audience without having to figure out what “makes them tick,” so to speak. It really brings in the “hardcore” factor of players, as well as families who want to check out what’s around the corner for the system or handheld they just purchased.
In all, everyone who’s involved with PAX Prime wins, and even though attempting to get badges is a lot of work, the end result is an event that benefits all involved. Including marketers.