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PAX 08 hits 58.5k attendees

Record number outstrips both last year's total and higher end of estimates for the three day event

This year's Penny Arcade Expo has achieved a record number of 58,500 attendees, far outstripping its estimates and previous year's results, as reported by Big Download.

Over 58,500 people attended the event, taking place August 29-31 in Seattle, Washington, exceeding the estimated figure of between 45,000 and 50,000. This also represents a sharp increase on the number of people at last year's event, which saw over 37,000 attendees.

"Overall it [PAX 2008] was a huge success. The challenge each and every year is to keep the community and cultural feel of the show intact, and I really think we pulled it off," said Robert Khoo, PAX's director of business development.

"We finally stopped doubling our attendance, but lord I'm not sure if we could have handled any more people if they showed up. Key learnings for next year? Better line management and more space!"

However, PAX did acknowledge that the sudden increase in attendees aggravated complaints of overcrowding, with people claiming that they waited in line to attend panels and game demos only to be turned away as theatres were filled to capacity.

"Regarding the overcrowding, it was definitely a symptom of the popularity of the show, but not one that can't be overcome. At two or three of the main theatre events three-to-four per cent of the line wasn't able to make it, but we hear those three-to-four per cent loud and clear," Khoo explained.

"We have a few ideas to manage that problem for 2009 including wristbands for popular events or just a straight-up head count of people in line. The worst thing is if people line up for something and end up not getting in."

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James Lee