In the world of Geek culture, few things are as exciting as the annual arrival of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). The annual four-day convention has become fertile breeding ground for all things fantastical and super-powered. Since its inception in 1970 as The Golden State Comic Book Convention, the event has spawned legions of devoted attendees who travel hundreds, even thousands of miles and kilometres to revel in the latest news, developments and glimpses of up and coming fixtures of pop culture.
Over the years, SDCC has proven itself a powerhouse in the world of multigenre entertainment conventions. An up and coming film’s future box-office success or failure can rest entirely on what it offers up to attendees during a panel or screening. In recent years, attendance at SDCC has topped 130,000, making it the largest convention in San Diego and a certifiable boon to the city’s economic impact.
Although autumn is not even officially over, it’s once again already time for Comic-Con lovers to try and secure their badges for the 2016 event. Pre-registration for everyone’s favourite convention officially begins at 8am on November 14th, 2015. It should be noted however, that this pre-registration opportunity is open only to those who attended SDCC 2015 as a general attendee. These past attendees must have validated the unique badge ID printed on their 2015 badges by September 15th. Attendees will be able to purchase up to three passes each, though all passes purchased must also be eligible for pre-registration on their own. A four-day pass will cost $245, up from the previous year’s price of $220.
With the popularity of SDCC continuing to grow, there have naturally been some problems. Badges that provide entrance to the convention have been counterfeited and sold by scalpers for inflated prices as well as phoney VIP passes. These sorts of scams are only the tip of a sizeable iceberg in which unscrupulous types have bilked many an eager attendee out of their hard earned cash. In an effort to combat this, Comic-Con International has begun to use RFID technology in the badges, as well as sending badges via post to US residents. According to The Toucan Blog:
RFID badges are extremely hard to duplicate, which addresses the problems we’ve had with counterfeit badging! In addition, it allows us to tie a badge to a specific person closer than before.
RFID technology also allows us to offer another exciting feature… advance fulfillment! Now we can mail you your badge in advance so you can skip those pesky registration lines onsite. No more waiting in line to get your badge when you arrive, although you’ll still want to pick up your bag, Souvenir Book and Events Guide, and lanyard at your leisure. And if the postman accidentally delivers your badge to another dimension, RFID technology allows us to turn off the missing badge and issue you a new one onsite.
It should also be noted that pre-registration does not actually guarantee that acquiring a badge is a certainty. Although they’re reluctant to make any exact confirmations of numbers, Comic-Con International estimates that up to 55,000 badges are available to pre-registers, making the odds of actually securing one somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50%.
For those who want to try and grab tickets for SDCC but did not attend last year’s event, open registration will be held at a currently unannounced date in early 2016. Unfortunately, the odds of getting a pass in this manner are not particularly high – a mere 6% likelihood of latching on to that golden Comic-Con ticket awaits.
Given the continuous growing popularity of Comic-Con, it’s frustrating that they’ve raised their prices within the span of one year. One would assume that with such huge numbers of people eager to spend the money to attend, there shouldn’t be any need to make things more expensive. However, with the trouble the convention has had from counterfeiters and scalpers of phoney passes, SDCC has had to make some real changes to how it produces and distributes their badges. Unfortunately this is a definite cost that attendees will feel in their wallets. Hopefully this year’s new technology and methods will help to slow or altogether stop the duplication of passes, but for now it looks like higher prices and lower odds of snagging a pass will be the norm.
San Diego Comic Con 2016 runs from July 21-24 2016, with a Preview Night held on July 20.