The most popular games at PAX Australia 2017
You'll be surprised by the games that drew the biggest crowds at this year's PAX Australia.
Compared to 2016's event, this year's PAX Australia seemed even bigger and more densely packed with games, gadgets and people. But while the sheer amount of things to see and do was greater than ever, we found that there were a few select booths that drew bigger crowds than the rest.
As we patrolled the show floor, we took note of these booths and the wait times people were willing to endure to get their hands on the games within. While there was no shortage of love for big names like Microsoft and Sony, the particular titles that garnered the most interest surprised us. Despite playable demos for upcoming titles like Ni No Kuni II, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Sonic Forces, along with release-day access to the excellent Super Mario Odyssey, it was predominantly older titles that attendees flocked to in droves.
Destiny 2, for example, was the flagship title for many of the hardware manufacturers like Razer, Alienware and Microsoft, with the PC version used as a benchmark for the latest range of high-end rigs, monitors and peripherals. Despite the many booths showing off the game and the fact it's been out on console for more than a month now, people were still queuing up to give it a spin.
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Similarly odd was the persistent line at HP's massive OMEN rig, a portable gaming arena built inside a truck that the company has been driving around the east coast of Australia for the last two months. Inside the OMEN rig, HP was holding an Overwatch tournament that had dozens of people waiting in line at any one time to compete in. While Blizzard has certainly kept up support for its hugely popular class-based shooter, it was still surprising to us that so many attendees were willing to give up their precious PAX time to play a game that came out way back in May 2016.
Perhaps the biggest anomaly in our eyes, though, was the constant crowd swarming the massive booth for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. The latest expansion for the reborn MMO has certainly resonated with Final Fantasy fans, but it still blew us away that so many people were happy to pass up the newer titles on the show floor for a sit-down with a game you can play a free trial of at home without waiting in line at all.
Less surprising but equally noteworthy was the sheer amount of time attendees were spending queuing up for some games. The swashbuckling Sea of Thieves, which was playable on board the historical tall ship the Polly Woodside, sported a minimum wait time of one hour, while the upcoming PS4 adventure game Detroit: Become Human demanded two hours of attendees' time jostling back and forth in queue. Lenovo's Star Wars Jedi Challenges augmented reality experience was the standout, though, with wait times in excess of two hours from the start of the show right up to its conclusion.
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