When ReedPop’s PAX and EGX gaming events in the US, Australia and the UK were all postponed due to Covid, the teams decided to combine forces and work with ReedPops digital brands to do something special for their fans. The result was the biggest online gaming event ever ‒ a nine day extravaganza of around the clock video game content across three continents!
“PAX Online x EGX Digital was the best example of collaboration I have ever seen and was something that ReedPop is uniquely positioned to deliver” says Simon Maxwell, Managing Director, ReedPop UK. “It brought together not only our event brands, but our games websites and YouTube channels, in particular RPS, Eurogamer, Digital Foundry, Dicebreaker, Vg247, Outside Xbox, Outside Xtra and USG. Building something like this from the ground-up is not easy to do at the best of times, let alone with everyone working remotely, across three different time zones, in a pandemic.”
The mammoth event ran from 12-20th September streaming 24-hour content on a purpose-built platform and via YouTube, Twitch and the Discord chat channel. And the digital show floor is still open for visitors to explore and discover games, panels and other gaming goodness that they might have missed. Key features included:
- A virtual show hall showcasing 289 games/products, of which 247 were playable live.
- Content streaming – 329 panels were broadcast on three streams from three continents. All were hosted on the event platform and available to view live on Twitch. Contributors ranged from cultural icons to developer heroes to content creator superstars. 80% of the content was pre-recorded so that the stars could join the audience in the live chat room while the content was playing to schedule.
- Esports Arena – the live digital gaming area brought together the world’s most competitive gamers and pitted them against each other for fabulous prizes.
- Discord – the glue that bound all of the above features together; a chat server where attendees could hang out, watch all the action, chat to their gaming heroes and recreate the sense of community so beloved of gaming event attendees. The PAX community is among the top 1% on Discord for activity, and nearly 1 million chat messages were generated over the course of the event!
- Merchandise Store – a range of commemorative and evergreen PAX and EGX merchandise was available for purchase via the online store, including t-shirts, pins and facemasks.
A platform fit for gamers
An amazing line-up of content was one thing, but key to the success of the event was a web platform that contributed to, rather than detracted from, the user experience – which is where the ReedPop development team came in.
“We felt strongly that we wanted to create some of the buzz you experience on a show floor which was the focus of the tech and design teams” explains Simon. “Too often we have seen digital events which are basically flat websites with links to content, but we wanted PAX Online and EGX Digital to deliver more of the sense of discovery that you get when visiting a show. We gave clients and sponsors an opportunity to show off a little with the size of their booth and depth of the content. We already have a load of ideas of how we would like to evolve this to make it more like the live experience. What is more, building it on our own website platform means that we can not only use it for the upcoming NYCC and MCM Comic Con Metaverse, but it can now also be used by any of our websites to create mini events.”
“Whilst online events can’t compare with our physical events we are really excited by the potential going forward”, adds Kyle Marsde Kish, PAX Event Director. “PAX Online x EGX Digital reached over 12m unique users, offering fans a way to spectate from home, interact and feel involved. We are already thinking about how we can use our learnings to create more digital engagement and access alongside our physical events in future. Watch this space!”