OZBOXLIVE XCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Guy Blomberg (PAX Australia)
Today it was announced that PAX Australia will once again return to Melbourne for 2014 with new dates and a new location. I sat down with Guy Blomberg (Content & Community Manager) for PAX Australia to discuss this event and what else he has planned.
For those that missed out on PAX Australia 2013 (or have never heard of it before), what is it exactly and how is it different to other expos such as OzComicCon, Armageddon, SupaNova and the EB Games Expo?
“PAX Australia is a video game and tabletop game festival, a celebration of gaming culture and community. I really mean it when I say ‘festival’ too – we have night time geek musical performances, massive console and PC freeplay/tournament areas, and tables as far as the eye can see for board and card games.”
How exactly did you get involved with PAX Australia?
“I’ve spent a good portion of my life dedicated to building and supporting gaming communities and running events, whether it be through my old gaming website AustralianGamer, or at my Mana Bar videogame cocktail bars. When Australia was being looked at as a potential PAX location, paths were crossed and the rest is history!”
Today it was announced the new dates for 2014. Why October/November? Is there an interesting story behind this or is it simply because of availability?
“There are so many factors that go into a decision like this, though I suppose the main reasons are to fix some of the issues with the July date of the 2013 show. Hosting the show in a warmer season, making sure it’s not on the same weekend as any other international shows, and giving the publishers more opportunity to showcase their games.”
For 2013 you were at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds and now it has been announced that you will be using the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre. What are your thoughts on this change and what are the benefits of the new location?
“We need more ROOM! Let’s be honest, one of the biggest problems we had during the first show were the long waits to get into theatre spaces and areas that weren’t big enough to accommodate the interest. The MCEC means we’re going to have three times the size for our theatre spaces next year!”
Tickets seemed to have sold out almost instantly when they were announced for 2013. Why do you think there was such a frenzy and what can people do so they don’t miss out for 2014?
“It’s funny really, as we don’t announce anything specific when tickets go on sale –Penny Arcade have done an amazing job building a show FOR gamers, but it doesn’t revolve around any specific title or company. It sounds really wibbly wobbly to say this, but there is just a really great vibe at PAX that brings the gaming community closer together.”
I know that it’s still a while a way but what kind of exciting surprises can you announce or hint at for 2014? Special Guests or Community Events perhaps?
“Nope, nope, you’ll get nothing out of me yet. I’ve got over a year to announce all the cool stuff we have planned, be patient!” ☺
What is it that you love about the Video Games Industry and these sort of events?
“I think my favourite part is seeing people who may not usually be that social getting out amongst people who share their passion for games, and making great friends from that. It’s really satisfying to be part of something so positive.”
I have to ask about your thoughts on the Xbox One. Will you be buying one at launch and what games are you most excited about?
“It’s been a ROLLERCOASTER of emotions following the Xbox One to launch hasn’t it! That said, I’ll definitely be getting one, Titanfall is simply unmissible from what I’ve played of it so far, and I’m a sucker for the new Killer Instinct game.”
The Australian Indie Showcase was very popular. What tips would you have for other developers that are planning on demonstrating their game next year.
“If you have something that is unique or that stands out, I’d say definitely submit to the AIS for next year. Just make sure the build of your game actually works!”