We’ve just returned from a quick jaunt to the East Coast to hit up PAX East 2014 in Boston. Hosted at the downtown convention center April 11-13, this year’s PAX expo saw even more growth and expansion than ever before.
PAX East is the expanded East Coast branch of the Penny Arcade gaming show, complete with an exhibit hall, gaming stations and handheld lounges, concerts and panels. Everything from cutting edge gaming technologies to old-school tabletop roleplaying games are on display and in play. Examples of some of the panels offered include AppJunkies Live: The Worst Apps Ever Made!, Indie Boardgames: Design and Crowdfunding, and the League of Legends YouTuber Panel. Notable concerts this year included Anamanaguchi, MC Frontalot and VGO.
Why is PAX East an important event for the gaming industry? Some may argue that in such a digital industry with such a rapid rate of growth, former popular gaming conventions have been seeing advertisers and large studios taking over the majority of the content and displays, or have only been catering to a certain cross-section of modern console gamers. PAX East still remains dedicated to games themselves, from card, tabletop and board games, to indie undertakings, mobile, console and more.
Attendees need not be developers or press, either. You’ll see many more game enthusiasts, some dressed up as their favorite characters, than any other demographic. There are activities such as contests and game demos, free swag and the chance to get autographs from your favorite game industry idols. Large rooms offer tabletop tournaments and console match ups as well.
Xsolla’s many clients include smaller devs as well as larger studios, including many attendees of PAX East 2014, and it’s always to exciting to catch up with them. In addition, we got to try out some exciting new titles that are coming out soon. Some of the games that made an impact on us this year included Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts: The Great War and Lichdom: Battlemage. Fan favorite League of Legends continued it meteoric rise in popularity for another year. This PAX East marked the year of the MMO, with the next generation of massive online games appearing seemingly everywhere on mobile and console and PC with more force and variation than ever before.
There were a few interesting panels and discussions that related to Xsolla and our place within the mobile community, including the Free-to-Play Throwdown: Mobile Devs Debate the Business of Mobile Games, which pitted two sides, one for free-to-play games and one against them, in a lively debate, each side making concise arguments about the potential behind both views. Another talk, with the humorous title Meet the “Most Evil” Game Developers in the World, discussed the issue of social games and their role in our marketplace today.
All in all, PAX East 2014 was a busy, bustling haven for gamers of all types. Panels and presentations provided a wide array of content to think about and process, and as always, it was great to catch up with some of our incredibly talented clients. There’s a lot of exciting growth going on in the gaming industry, and we at Xsolla were happy to came back with rad swag and a lot to think about for the future of games!