• The best and possibly only-est shyguy cosplay I've ever seen at PAX.
  • I asked for a fist bump after this photo and got one.
  • You don't see too many opportunities for selfies with inflatable dinosaurs outside of shows like this.
  • I didn't see a coat anywhere near this guy as he wandered out of the convention center into 40 degree Boston weather.
  • Ssssssssssssssssss.
  • This guy was literally springing across the crosswalk on those bouncy stilts.
  • The parents pushing these kids probably couldn't go ten feet without stopping for a picture.
  • You've got support.
  • Get it? Sonic… boom…
  • God damnit I don't need another Caterpie. Go away!
  • Pixel Ripped creator Ana Ribeiro dressed up as the main character in her own game to attract attention to her booth.
  • Ms. Pac-Man has seen some disturbing things…
  • It took years of attending fan conventions but I finally saw some Samba de Amigo cosplay!
  • Nyehehehehehehe.
  • Frank stop posing for pictures you are running out of time to kill those zombies!
  • That head on the left is a person's costume, not a piece of statuary.
  • The new Suicide Squad movie is looking great so far.
  • Name a more iconic duo.
  • High-level Fortnite play attracted standing-room only crowds in the PAX Arena.
  • I thought someone had just put this Crash Bandicoot protective mask down for a second, but then I saw it in the exact same place the next day like it was part of the decor.
  • Streaming!
  • You! Creator! Go sit in the Creator's Corner where you belong!
  • The Twitch partner lounge was a sea of spacious calm on a crowded show floor, for those lucky enough to be able to get in.
  • That "Bring the world closer together" poster in this mock streaming room takes on a different meaning in light of recent events.
  • Discord has enough of a following that people were posing with this logo all weekend. I don't think Slack can claim the same thing.
  • Nintendo had casters commentating over a constant stream of Splatoon 2 gameplay all weekend.
  • You've probably played PUBG with 99 other people, but have you ever done so with 99 other people in the same room?
  • The ultimate in "leave me alone, I'm gaming" comfort.
  • It looks like someone has messed with the scaling on multiple parts of this picture, but no, the tower and screen are actually shaped like that.
  • How your tower looks is just as important as how your PC game looks.
  • Making players sit on actual saddles is a good way to attract attention to your VR jousting game.
  • The Aim Controllers booth has the cure for your boring black controller shell.
  • Keep in mind that the full version of Metal Gear Solid cost $49.99 when it came out.
  • Believe it or not, Nintendo still makes hanafuda cards as it did over 100 years ago.
  • Data East is getting on the nostalgia wagon with officially licensed re-releases of its SNES games on authentic cartridges.
  • The price and selection of Japanese Amiibo seems to go up every year.
  • A 64 GB generic SD card currently costs $20 from Amazon. Sony's proprietary Vita memory cards, on the other hand…
  • Nothing says retro revival like large boxes with hand-painted art.
  • Is there a critical mass of comics readers clamoring for a deeper story to decades-old arcade games?
  • When the game itself can't save high scores permanently, sharpie will have to do.
  • Somebody must be buying these analog stick extenders for "pro control" because they continue to buy expensive booth space every year.
  • Crane games remain one of the best ways to attract an audience for your swag on a crowded show floor.
  • Telling your game dev story through sticky notes is definitely a cheap and effective form of promotion. It worked on me!
  • The contrast between the VR headset and the retro decor at the Pixel Ripped booth kind of broke my brain.
  • All mannequins should wear mustaches and Mario hats.
  • The presence of Chips Ahoy! cookies everywhere in Microsoft's Sea of Thieves promotional booth was pretty hiliarous.
  • Stay frosty.
  • In "Beasts of Balance," you have to stack as many of these carefully constructed plastic figures as possible before they tumble to the ground. An accompanying iPad app shows the beasts as they connect to the base via NFC technology.
  • This kid didn't let his unwieldy costume get in the way of trying to escape from this makeshift escape room experience.

BOSTON, MA—The one overwhelming impression I'll take away from this year's PAX East is that gaming culture is now undeniably driven by "content creators," professional gamers, and amateur players sharing their work and their play with the world.

This is far from a new trend, both in gaming in general and at conventions like PAX East, which attracted tens of thousands of gamers to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center this weekend. Streaming and eSports stars have been a growing presence in the expo hall and in the panel rooms for a few years now, after all.

But things seem to have reached a tipping point at this year's show. The PAX Arena booth was one of the most raucous in the whole convention, drawing huge crowds for competitions in everything from Fortnite to FIFA. Right next door Geico—of all companies—once again hosted a major Hearthstone tournament that drew throngs of applauding fans for major player personalities. Other booths held their own amateur and professional competitions (including a whole lot of PUBG) to highlight their hardware, their software, or, in the case of Discord, their surprisingly popular community management hubs.

Amazon-owned streaming site Twitch took up a large portion of the show floor with a lavish booth that provided a respite for its "partners," that "exclusive group of the world's most popular video game broadcasters, personalities, leagues, teams, and tournaments" as Twitch puts it. Not to be outdone, Facebook Gaming had its own lavish booth next door highlighting how it, too, can let you share livestreamed gameplay video with your friends on its massive platform.

Microsoft is trying to get in on the same space with Mixer, its own streaming solution that featured yet another massive booth where content creators could stream from soundproof booths. Nearby, the usually staid Nintendo hosted a constant stream of live commentary over four-on-four Splatoon 2 matches, trying to encourage its own eSports phenomenon. And farther down the show floor, signings for YouTube and Twitch personalities like JackSepticEye weaved around in massive, three-hour queues.

While there was the usual selection of single player indie games on hand this year, and virtual reality continues to be a major draw at live events like these, it was the booths and events focused on sharing that seemed to have the biggest impact. It's a trend that seems likely to continue as the generation that grew up taking broadband Internet and online gameplay for granted continues to grow into an ever larger force in the gaming market.

We'll have more game impressions and embargoed news from the PAX show floor in the coming days. For now, check out the gallery above to see some of the best costumes, products, and promotional displays we came across on the show floor.

Original Article

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Ars Technica

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