Penny Arcade Business Manager Robert Khoo has revealed via an interview with Big Download that last weekend’s east coast Penny Arcade Expo saw over 69,500 attendees. This record makes it the single largest game convention in the country.
With the show relocating to South Boston at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the extra space allowed for more attendees than last year’s show, without the overcrowding. “The venue we have this year is massive—it’s legitimately 2-3 times larger than last year’s venue, so the amount of breathing room was fantastic. I didn’t hear a single complaint about overcrowding,” said Khoo. Last year’s show in downtown Boston, by comparison, saw only 52,290 attendees.
As an attendee of both shows, I can personally vouch for their claims. PAX East 2011 was a seriously legitimate conference, with a huge venue that easily housed the crowds even in the busiest hours of the show. Of course, there were long lines to see the games, and the expo hall could get pretty cramped because of them, but it’s a huge change of pace from last year’s show, when even the regular hallways where completely packed with people. The Boston Convention Center is so big that it wasn’t uncommon to be the only person walking down a given hallway (my feet certainly didn’t thank me for the extra walking I did).
While E3 may be the show where all the biggest games are revealed, PAX East (and West, though its attendance is slightly less) holds the crown as the biggest gathering of gamers in America you’re likely to see this year. It was a proud moment of unity for us dorks, and I look forward to doing it all over again in 2012.