Does Blizzcon cost way too much for not enough? A rant-y piece on Gamespot makes that argument, with multiple points of evidence. A quote:
I’m not saying that the 175 goddamn dollars that Blizzard wants per ticket to this year’s BlizzCon is not worth it. BlizzCon is just one of many trade shows and expos I attend every year, and no other boasts the same level of electricity and excitement from a fan’s perspective. I am by nurture an apathetic creature, and even I felt a chill when, say, Chris Metzen took the stage in 2009 to announce in that booming voice of his the arrival of Cataclysm.
But then again, I’m not saying the 175 goddamn dollars that Blizzard wants per ticket is worth it. Take, for instance, last year’s show. For those paying for big headline announcements, the best Blizzard could do was a reveal for the last of Diablo III’s five classes. The eminently eBay-able schwag bag, too, was wanting, with worthwhile content including just a Deathwing statue and the Deathy in-game pet.
As Larik points out in his news tip thread, Elly and I debated the value of attending Blizzcon in the podcast this morning, and concluded that unless you’re really dying for hands on demo play, it’s not worth it. You get almost all the same info online for free (eventually) and buying the $Virtual Pass (same price as last year!) gives you all of the panels and various interviews and such as they happen.You don’t get the excitement of actually being there, of course, but you will save $1000 or more, when you include travel expenses, hotel, food, time, etc.
Update: On the other hand, Alexcstrassa points us to ArsTechnica, where they feel tickets are actually underpriced, as evidenced by them selling out so quickly. Not to get into the semantics of price vs. scarcity, perceived value, desirability, etc… but clearly things can cost too much and still sell. Tickets to the SuperBowl, for instance, always sell out, yet the event usually sucks since most of the attendees are rich people who attend for the social status of it, yet aren’t really fans of the sport or either team.
BlizzCon could probably still sell a fair number of tickets at $500 or even $1000 a piece, but they’d price out most of their target consumers at that point, and be seen as price-gougers. However, as the Gamespot article makes clear, the current ticket price is almost incidental compared to the other costs of attending the show. At least now, with a cover price equivalent to a year’s worth of WoW subscription fees, it ensures that the people there really want to be there?