The Hot (and Not) of PAX East

Hopefully, you are following Explosion’s Charles Battersby as he breaks down PAX East.  Keep following his articles for more about the conference.  PAX East is great showcase for games, giving fans and media a great chance to preview what the video game holds  in the near future.  However, it is also a great chance to get a beat on how fans feel about the industry in general.  Here are some of hottest trends at the conference (and some of the cold ones too).


MMOs — Hot

If anyone thought MMOs were on their deathbed they would be sorely mistaken.  This year’s PAX East conference boasted some of the biggest MMO booths to date.  There were the staples, such as CCP’s EVE, but there was also new blood with NCsofts’ Wildstar having one of the largest booths on the exhibition floor.  The Elder Scrolls Online probably boasted one of the biggest lines as people waited over three hours to try out a hands on experience with Bethesda’s online version of Tamriel.


Diablo III — Not

While Diablo III had one of the largest booths at the conference, there did not seem to be much interest in the console port of the game.  A line that was taped out to span around the booth, was barely queueing as people were seeking out more of the new fare.  It may not be surprising as Diablo III is one of the only games at the conference which is already available for retail.  But it might be an indication of the tepid reaction console fans are having to the made-for-PC title.


Ubisoft — Hot

Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed IV were some of the biggest lines at PAX East.  In fact, it was often hard to tell where one line stopped and the other began as fans almost seemed to circle the Ubisoft booths entirely.  Making a mad dash on Sunday morning was the only way people were going to avoid multi-hour waits for previews of these games.


Wii U — Not

I didn’t even notice the Wii U booth for the majority of the conference.  However, Nintendo’s presence seemed to be mediocre at best.  There was both a dedicated Wii U booth, and a giant Monster Hunter booth.  While both booths were frequented often by attendees, neither ever had any sort of line or crowds gathering at it.  PAX East may not have held the targets the Wii U is looking for, but they could use the sales none-the-less.


Divekick — Hot

While League of Legends probably wears the crown for loudest booth, Divekick came in second (and did it while being a fraction of the size).  The roaring crowds and excited combatants were enough to grab anyone’s attention.  Including some of the bigger names at the conference, like Cliff Bleszinski, who called it his game of the show. The game only consists of two buttons, “Dive” and “Kick”, the first player to strike a “Divekick” on their opponent wins the round.  This high octane game was truly a fan favorite.


Metro: Last Light — Not

Deep Silver had quite the presence at this year’s PAX East, showing three new games between Metro: Last Light, Saints Row IV, and Dead Island: Riptide.  While the latter two constantly had long lines of fans waiting to hungrily devour any early material possible, Metro: Last Light was fairly available when anyone wanted in.  Furthermore, often people seemed disinterested in the finishing the demo, leaving other players to step into the half-completed playthrough.  It remains to be seen if Metro: Last Light is good or not, but the reaction at PAX East was tepid.


Transistor — Hot

Supergiant Games had their booth in the back of the hall with all the other independent studios.  Sure Pop Cap and Double Fine had some larger booths set up, but nothing compared to the 3+ hour line that started from the opening gun on Friday and remained until people reluctantly left on Sunday.  It almost felt out of place to have a line of that size amidst Kickstarter, mobile, and other independent games, but there’s no denying the popularity of Supergiant’s next project.


Marvel Heroes — Not

MMOs were already discussed, but this one falls on the other side of the spectrum.  Despite having their own panel and sizable booth, Marvel Heroes really failed to make an impression at the conference.  Interest in the MMO seemed scarce as the booth was rarely packed.  Even worse, the people who played the demo walked away with little excitement.  It will be interesting to see how the game shapes up.


Contrast — Hot

There were a few independent games that really stood out amongst the crowd at PAX East this year.  One such game was Contrast. Made by Compulsion Games, Contrast is a 2D/3D puzzle platformer, in which players journey through the world as the protagonist’s imaginary friend.  Decorated in a rich and beautiful European-inspired, 20’s noir feel, the game was the talk of the crowd as people left the booth.


Think we’re way off base with these ratings?  Think something was unfortunately omitted from the discussion?  Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter?  What was your hot-or-not from PAX East 2013?U

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