If you follow me regularly on Twitter, you’d notice that last weekend there wasn’t a lot of action happening on my feed. Between managing volunteers, looking out for stock and working the stage, I barely had time to pull out my phone let alone get some Tweets up.
Through the long hours, late nights and early starts I had an absolute blast and you all deserve to hear about PAX. So there’s what went down last weekend at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
3 days of pure gaming bliss… or was it this year? PAX 2015 was a little different than previous years. One of the first things I noticed was the insane amount of hardware and peripheral stands. Unlike previous years, Corsair, Razer, Gigabyte, Asus, Roccat, Nvidia and many more didn’t come as themselves but rather teamed up with their suppliers, retailers and partners. This saw the MSY booth triple in size compared to 2014. Add onto that a mountain of prizes! Companies such as Roccat chose to come with their partners Wargaming.net and Alienware. This created an exhibition hall with a smaller number of overall booths, but everyone went bigger and better. Alienware even challenged Wargaming this year and built a second story as well.
Another noticeable change was the presence of Sony PlayStation. According to some of the enforces this was a long time coming and was a welcome addition to PAX. PlayStation showed off a number of new titles and had a virtual reality experience. The line for this was fairly long and you had to have an appointment to get in. Speaking of VR, whilst Oculus wasn’t present this year, a number of booths showed off some sweet virtual reality tech. Yes there was PlayStation, and Alienware had their Zero Latency experience (you really need to try this if you haven’t – there’s one at Docklands), but there were some nice new companies this year. Opaque Multimedia (remember those guys from my previous blog post?) showed off their Earthlight multi-platform game. Some indie games such as Marble Mountain even implemented VR technology. One thing is very clear here – VR is becoming a massive area in gaming, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Microsoft made sure Sony didn’t completely get above them at PAX 2015. XBOX had two booths, one for 360 and one for, well, ONE. XBOX One managed to have the highest number of playable games with 28 games available to try out including the new Halo Guardians and Tomb Raider (my personal favs). Other amazing returns from 2014 were Ubisoft, Nintendo, Wargaming.net, MSI, Origin, CoolerMaster and Rebel Legion to name a few. There were also the typical merchandise stores such as Rooster Teeth, Madman, Good Games and heaps more.
One other big change this year were the number of eSports tournaments and gaming demos. Let’s face it, games really sell the hardware even if the gaming company is the largest industry driving the development of new hardware. All the big hardware companies were seen having tournaments in Mortal Kombat, racing, Warhammer and League of Legends (don’t say it), why did I mentioned it, why???
Okay, so I said the taboo word, let’s talk about it now… League of Legends. Where were they this year? Most people already know that the largest booth of PAX2014 decided to run their own show at Rod Laver Arena and Luna Park. If you were around Luna Park you would have seen the ridiculously long line of cosplayers waiting to get on rollercoasters, or simply waiting just to get into the park. Whilst League had a no-show at PAX2015, players need not be disappointed. Instead, we had the ESL Arena. Here, gamers battled it out at Rocket League, SMITE and HALO5. I think everyone was pretty happy to see Halo up on the big screen. Yes it was a little sad League weren’t there – I was looking forward to getting some more codes off them too – but this didn’t mean the noise was any softer.
Wargaming.net developed a reputation over the last few years of PAX as being the loudest, a reputation to behold and be proud of. As all good gamers know, when someone is better than you, you challenge them. Logitech made tonnes of noise this year, MSY gave it a crack and I did hear a bit of chatter from ESL even though it was on the other side of the hall. In all fairness I think Wargaming.net still ended up being the loudest, and definitely the loudest for the longest. I asked some participants and crowd goers who confirmed these speculations, saying Wargaming could be heard from anywhere in the hall. I even had a friend down at the XBOX One booth who made his way to Wargaming because he “heard [my] voice all the way” from there. I am constantly amazed by the crowd that Wargaming can pull in. People would stand around for hours just listening to the gamers play and talk through what they’re doing. Players picked up neat tips and tricks and the ones who hung around all weekend got some pretty sweet SWAG. Needless to say I don’t think many people would have bought in a haul like mine 😉 Check it out:
Hope you enjoyed this little writeup on the gaming scene in Australia. Make sure get to PAX2016 (fingers crossed it still runs) and if you are overseas, make sure you get to some of the big ones like E3, EB Expo, BizzCon and tonnes more. See you on the gaming scene (or screen) check out my “Connect with Me” page for my IGN.