At E3 2013, attendees stood in line for over four hours for the chance to spend a few minutes in a circle playing Nintendo video games.  A wheel holding prizes spun around, and whatever prize was in front of you, you got.

That was in the West Hall. The big draw for the South Hall was the Disney Infinity Pavilion.   There were two lines — one to get a silk-screened shirt and the other for a playable Infinity figure.  They were both at least an hour’s wait.

At E3 and San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), lines are to be expected and are completely unavoidable.

2011 was the last year that attendees were able to wait in line to buy badges for the next year’s Con.  Some waited six hours … only to be given a ticket to wait in line the next day.  Now the waiting is done online, with no assurance of badge procurement.  Not perfect, but at least this saves a significant amount of time at the event, not having to wait for a chance to go to next year’s.

For grab-and-go giveaways, Timed Tickets would be impractical, but for videogame play, trailer screenings, or experience-based promotions, Timed Tickets is a sensible method to cut down on clogged aisles and attendee irritation about time expended in a queue.

For autographs, usually wristbands or tickets are printed out.  Couldn’t the organizers break this up into sections, kind of how Southwest Airlines does at the airport?  It takes just a little more ink to pull that off.  And how about including a start time at which people could line up so everybody doesn’t have to get there two hours before the actual session begins?

A little note about applying deodorant would help as well.

So far Ubisoft has released details about its Assassin’s Creed pirate ship experience, and Adult Swim will have a Funhouse.  Timed Tickets would be perfect for these kinds of attractions.

Adult Swim Funhouse

As far as panels, since SDCC does not clear rooms, it’s hard to predict how many audience members will be let in to each session.  People sometimes camp out all day to attend a popular panel, often sitting through sessions they have no interest in.

For that reason, any electronic panel pre-selection wouldn’t work because attendees would need to be rescanned before every panel.  That’d be impossible in Hall H.  It’d be a never-ending task.

But if it’s estimated that Americans spend 37 billion hours waiting in line, shouldn’t the people behind SDCC, one of the country’s premiere conventions, attempt to reduce that?


–Ken Choy

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