PAX East and NYCC Prove Games Cons Should Keep Coming East

This is the start of something big for the East.

Video games are a big part of American culture and the lives of numerous American citizens. However, when it comes time to showcase the best that the videogame industry has to offer to the press and general gaming public, developers, publishers, and console manufacturers have always done so specifically on the western side of the country. It made logical sense. The western United States was quite obviously geographically closer to Japan, the other juggernaut nation of the industry. But what it did was force a large chunk of videogame fans to go across the country in order to fully enjoy the atmosphere of a big-time game convention or trade show. Now, though, thanks to PAX East and New York Comic Con, the East Coast is finally getting the love it deserves.

There is no doubt that cities like Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles all have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of videogame fans. But so do a plethora of cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Tampa, and Miami. Because of this, there shouldn’t really be any reason, outside of mere convenience, for the entire East Coast to be ignored by the industry in terms of big conventions or trade shows. With the industry making as much money as it is now, travel should really no longer be an issue for West-Coast and Japanese game companies. And it certainly is nice to give East-Coast developers like Rockstar and Irrational Games as well as European developers like Lionhead Studios a break in that regard.

It can be easily explained that East Coast trade shows have been ignored for so long simply because they hadn’t been done before. There was no proof that tey could work, so shows on the east side of the country were never attempted. But those who never take risks are doomed to regret it. And that’s why Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade decided it was time for a change in 2010 and brought the game industry over to the East Coast in a big way with the inaugural PAX East.

The show was a huge success. It sold out of weekend passes nearly two months beforehand and completely sold out nine days prior to opening of its doors. Gamers from across the East Coast flooded Boston. Booths were swarmed and the convention center that housed it seemed to be practically bursting at the seams. There was also no lack of press coverage at all; GamerNode and just about every other gaming publication out there all converged to get the latest looks at some of 2010’s hottest upcoming titles. The show was such a success that not only will it be returning next year, but the show will be moved to a much bigger convention center in Boston’s waterfront district.

New York got in on the fun.

Following the success of PAX East, the industry wanted to test its mettle in the country’s biggest city, New York, and New York Comic Con served as an ultimate gauge of the viability of East-Coast trade shows. The event sold out of Saturday passes on the morning of the show, and Friday and Sunday filled the three-block-long Jacob Javits Center nearly to capacity. It wasn’t all for the comics, as a fair chunk of the show floor featured booths from Activision, Nintendo, Capcom, Sega, Rockstar, and many more game industry representatives. The press was there again as well, with representatives from publications nationwide venturing to NYC for the festivities. The booths were filled with gamers every day, all weekend long.

To top off this test, Capcom and Sega even made exclusive NYCC reveals: four new Marvel vs. Capcom 3 characters and a first-time showing of Captain America: Super Soldier. Fans went absolutely ballistic for the character reveals in both the MvC 3 and Marvel Games panels. Fans even lined up to attend the MvC 3 panel more than an hour before it began, which proved to be a good idea as the line eventually got cut off. Attendees also flooded the Sega booth and gathered en masse to watch Super Soldier‘s lead designer play through a demo version of the game. NYCC was once again another huge success for the videogame industry on the eastern seaboard.

So let New York Comic Con and PAX East serve as examples that gamers do exist in droves and hordes in the Eastern United States. They will come to these big-time conventions to get a look at the games they long to get their hands on. Press will be there to catch hot reveals and announcements and publish them for the world to see; these titles will get the publicity their developers and publishers desire. Trade shows will work out in the East Coast and be just as successful as they have been in the western US. These first two that dared to test that possibility have proven it. Let there be many more to come.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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