What I Learned at PAX East

Posted by The World According to Marc on March 24, 2013

I spent Saturday at PAX East 2013 in Boston. If you’re not familiar with PAX, it is a conference put on by the folks at Penny Arcade. If you enjoying “gaming” (in any form) then this is your nirvana. They cover quite a bit of ground from table-top to video games to cosplay… Just imaging if a scheduling SNAFU resulted in E3 and Comic-Con happening in the same building.

Along with accumulating more swag than I can mentally process at the moment, I learned:

  • The folks at Kickstarter are even cooler than Kickstarter itself. I have a fantastic conversation about mentoring new entrepreneurs.  These guys are dedicated to building more than just a platform for funding, they are passionate about engaging and educating people. Love these guys.
  • The press can talk all they want about Android market-share. Yes, they sell a ton of devices but this show really highlighted what those of us in the tech industry have known for a while; Apple still owns the cool kids.  An orchard would be envious of the amount of Apples in one place.
  • People like the Surface, a lot. There were very few boots with a Surface running their wares, but the few that were had people asking as many questions about the device as the software it was running. This shouldn't be too surprising since Penny Arcade made some noise about loving the Surface Pro but it was refreshing to see.
  • Indi-games are no longer poorly built second-class citizens. I saw some jaw-dropping work being done by very small studios (many of whom used Kickstarter for what it is worth). More importantly, their booths were packed with teenagers and college students. Lesson: the company to capture that audience will be the leader in 10 years.
  • If you want to launch a Kickstarter, do so in a panel at a gamer’s conference. The demo at the Kickstarter panel was a new project being launched. It was a card-came called Werewolf and it was fully foundered before the panel was complete. He needed $200 and was crossing $2,500 before the day was over.