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Answerman - Why Did Otakon's Attendance Shrink?


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Somewhere



Joined: 27 Sep 2013
Posts: 347
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:45 pm Reply with quote
Lactobacillus yogurti wrote:
And for those who say they can't go to Otakon because they're too far away... I live in spoiler[South America] and I went anyway, with my own money. If I could, you can Smile.


Went for Kikuko? Cool

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Otakon has badge pick up the day before, with the processing usually starting at around 3 PM?
And yes, the contract that Otakorp has only lets them do pre-reg stuff inside the BCC until... 11 PM or so?

I would say that this year's Thursday night line disaster was at least better than last year's (silly me, I voluntarily stood in both!).

So, last year's version of the debacle. I've heard that the remaining people who got inside eventually got the choice of either getting a green slip of paper to pass to the front of Friday's pre-reg line, or get taken to the Hilton for processing over the night. But me on the otherhand; I was cut off from entering the building by about... 10-15 people? This was at about 11 PM.
It turns out that when you've stood in line outside for near 4 hours and then get shut out of the place with the door right there, it can be rather infuriating. I'd say that for the next 20 minutes or so, there was a fair amount of people yelling at the staffers there. But people started dispersing by around 11:30, with fewer than 50 people still sticking around that area, including me.
So around that time, they started issuing that above-mentioned pre-reg line pass. So I got one of those and used that early Friday morning. And those of us who had to use that pass also picked up a compensation t-shirt; I got Otakon 2013's shirt that time.

The key difference this year was that at roughly around 9:45 or so, the system finally started working properly again for whatever reason. From that point on, the line flowed at pre-2014 speeds, from what I can tell. I was in the snake in the autograph line area at that time, then from there to badge pickup was sub-15 minutes (whereas I entered the line outside near the... southeast? corner of the con center at ~6:30).
Oh yea, they were also pro-active with the compensation t-shirts this time. I want to say that at some time between 9:15 and 9:35, they wheeled in a cart of leftover t-shirts and started throwing them around. I caught a XXXL-sized Otakon Vegas (I think this year's?) (also, way too big for me); ended up just giving that to a larger friend <.<
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#842978



Joined: 13 Aug 2015
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Well, I read about last years Thursday Pre-Reg problems but decided to go this year anyway, it was a huge mistake.

I stood in line for pre-reg from about 6:30 to 10pm for nothing, the staff member who came to inform us that the line was over was very rude about it too, told us we should have paid to have our badges mailed, there was no bad management involved etc. I have been to three other Otakons and they were all fine, but this was my first real experience with the staff and it was not good! I know it was actually worse last year so I could see that as a big reason for the drop too. I'm pretty sure I won't be returning...even though the DC one will basically be down the street from me. The price hike was already a hard pill to swallow and I feel like its going to be even more in 2017.

Good luck Otakon I guess.
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SailorTralfamadore



Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 472
Location: Keep Austin Weeb
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:03 pm Reply with quote
^If you went in to pick up on a pre-reg badge on Friday, there was hardly any line. Which surprised me a lot, and was my first clue that Otakon this year was different.

I'm really glad I skipped the pre-reg stuff on Thursday. I never would have made it.
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sargonarhes



Joined: 14 Jun 2009
Posts: 6
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:24 pm Reply with quote
Kilika84 wrote:
I got turned off by the $100 registration fee.


It didn't cost $100 to register, but it was pretty damn close to it. I went but I was one of the first 10,000 so I got the small discount, and then the riots happened and I was concerned. Concerned because I can't afford one of the harbor front hotels and got one around the beltway. Had my badge mailed so I didn't see linecon 2, $10 for shipping it seemed to balance against the cost of parking in Baltimore.

Yeah, it's moving to DC in 2017, but I don't see that city as any safer. Parking costs way more than Baltimore as do the hotels. Because it's capital USA there's always a protest or crowds of something there.
Simple put I am not going into the mouth of the beast. I'm done.
Plenty of other anime conventions that are closer and have managed to keep their pre-registration costs to below $50 at the start of it.
Ohayocon
Tekko
Matsuricon
to name a few.

I love Otakon and will miss it, but it is getting way out of hand. Even with the smaller crowds I still missed a few panels because they were already full.

I should have added, how long have I been going to Otakon.
I can remember the 1st Otakon in State College PA, at the Days Inn on Pugh Street. The 2nd one was also in State College, it wasn't until the 3rd they moved to Baltimore. But that one year they were in Crystal City VA, just out side of DC was the worst traffic I have ever seen.
Otakon and I have a history together.


Last edited by sargonarhes on Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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tygerchickchibi



Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Posts: 1270
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:51 pm Reply with quote
I went to a few local areas and from a restaurant I had gone to in downtown Baltimore, they pretty much stated the same thing (similar to the Otakon Attendance). Tourism was pretty low in general, so... yap.



Everyone wants to blame the prices and I know there are quite a few who were upset but I do remember people going bananas about the protests in Baltimore and not wanting to go after the incident.

And with AX, it is generally expensive, I don't know how people want to do it with such an overcrowding of people. Paying extra money for the concert, masquerade and other events are a general turn off and I still find Otakon to be cheaper financially.
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#842978



Joined: 13 Aug 2015
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:36 am Reply with quote
SailorTralfamadore wrote:
^If you went in to pick up on a pre-reg badge on Friday, there was hardly any line. Which surprised me a lot, and was my first clue that Otakon this year was different.

I'm really glad I skipped the pre-reg stuff on Thursday. I never would have made it.


Well, yes I did have to pick it up on Friday since I was turned away with nothing on Thursday lol. Fridays line was fine, which just made it even more frustrating that they screwed up Thursday so bad. What the hell happened?
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 7163
Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:33 pm Reply with quote
My guess? It was the company Otakon hired for registration and badges. I forget the name of this company, but Anime Expo used this company and had similar problems.
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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 6454
Location: Kazune City
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:41 am Reply with quote
Just a tangentially-related question, since people who've been to Otakon in recent years have been in on this thread: does Otakon still show fansubbed/downloaded material in their viewing rooms? I believe they did back in 2009 when I was there, or at least I know they showed a poorly-subbed bootleg of a 1960s Cyborg 009 movie.
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