2013 Attendees of San Diego Comic-Con, stressing about a imminent Pre-Registration Badge Sale previously announced to occur between November and December, have been given a respite: an update emailed to those eligible for the Sale has announced that it has been put back until the beginning of 2014 to allow for ‘fine-tuning’ of the Waiting Room system, currently in place.
This comes as good news for two reasons: firstly, now attendees can relax a little about keeping a watchful eye out for announcements over the already hectic Festive Season, and secondly, it means that CCI are addressing some well-needed issues with the existing Badge Sale System which saw many people stymied at the first hurdle of purchasing badges in 2012.
The Pre-Registration Sale is open to those who attended in 2013 and is made up of a small percentage of badges – this number has always been kept a closely guarded secret to CCI but is assumed by many of the online fan community to be only in the region of a couple of ten thousand badges.
Comic-Con International are reportedly working ‘around the clock’ with both EPIC Registration (the company tasked with administrating the badge sale) and Web Performance who are being charged with testing the load-bearing of having that many people applying for the limited number of available badges.
The potential solutions that CCI are acknowledging in their email update include:
A shopping cart
The log-in issues many experienced in the 2013 Badge Sales also collapsed any recognised badge purchases when screens froze and purchase sessions become unstable. The new shopping cart, to be introduced by EPIC should protect available badge inventory for all members of a purchasing group during a registration session. (This email does not, however, state how many people this group can consist of on this initial Badge Sale.
Single session purchasing
The email states, “In the old EPIC Registration system, attendees had to purchase their badge first and then start the entire process all over again for their next guest. Now, when you begin your online registration session you will enter the number of people you are buying badges for and on the following page all available badge inventory should be held for each member of your party. You will not have to make a second purchase!”
Many observers have questioned how this ‘available badge inventory’ can ‘…be held’, when there are so many people applying at once, but this may tie in with sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to who is applicable to join the Waiting Room – something addressed by the next solution…
Landing page validation
Social media and internet word-of-mouth has allowed word of SDCC badge sales to spread like wildfire in recent years, allowing those who may not be valid to even take part in a particular badge sale to take up spaces in the first element of the Badge Sale: the Waiting Room.
We have already been told that taking part in the Badge Sales, especially for returning attendees, may rest on having the physical attendee badge for 2013 to hand; the first link provided in the initial email will now lead to a page where a code on the badge will be act as a gatekeeper for the rest of the Sale. Here’s hoping you’ve kept that badge safe!
The biggest issue for EPIC Registration, and indeed Comic-Con International has been sheer quantity of demand and the load dumped onto the servers the second a badge sale is due to start: the effort ends up resembling a manic gold-rush of prospective fans trying to dive simultaneously down a rabbit hole! For 2014 Badge Sales, a company called Web Performance, specialising in ‘time-proven load-testing methodologies’, are road testing the stability of the servers to handle this unique pressure. Here’s hoping these ‘methodologies’ manage to pinpoint the rough edges and allow for EPIC To iron out the kinks that prospective applicants have hit head on in Badge Sales gone by!
All of these are, of course, welcome improvements but we’ve heard of changes and system alterations before – here’s hoping these are for the better and the course of sailing is a lot smoother in 2014.
The Official CCI Announcement has been posted on the CCI website and can be found here. Do you think these changes can help? Are there any other improvements you would have liked to seen introduced? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…