CCI Alters Badge Registration Process; System Randomized for 2014

hall h con lineCCI has finally given anxious attendees a few updates on both how and when the impending preregistration sale will take place, and most attendees are either going to be very happy or very upset by the changes.

According to a new Toucan Blog update, part of the hold-up for the sale has been that CCI and EPIC Registration have completely revamped the registration process. In years past, attendees have been given a start time for the sale and a link to click, which has led to thousands of hopeful attendees overloading servers. In response to that, and to try to curb future problems this year, this year’s sale will see a randomized waiting room.

Here is how the new process will work, as per the Toucan post:

During 2014 badge preregistration, prospective attendees will be given a time frame in which they can log in to the EPIC waiting room prior to the badge sale. Once the badge sale begins, everyone who is inside the waiting room will be randomly assigned to a registration session. Your assigned registration session is not tied to the time you entered the waiting room. There is no advantage in arriving early.


This is a very drastic change to previous years, where attendees were rewarded for being able to click the registration link nano-seconds before their peers. Now, it sounds as if attendee’s Comic-Con chances are mostly being left up to fate, and a randomized number. According to CCI, this should “level the playing field”, as it gives each attendee the same chance to be in the first ‘session’ or batch of those who get to purchase their badges, as it does to be in the very last batch.

CCI also states that they are still in the process of testing the system, and while they give no date for when the sale will inevitably occur, they do state the sale won’t be this weekend, on February 1. Could sales be the following weekend, on February 8? We’ll update as soon as we hear.

From the Toucan Blog, here’s the entire update:

We would first like to thank everyone for your patience while we conduct a lot of tests on the new registration system. We know how frustrating purchasing a badge for Comic-Con can be and while the sheer number of people who would like to attend far outnumber the badges available, we really do hope the new system will make the process less aggravating.

We have heard suggestions from many of you, as far ranging as utilizing a fee-heavy corporate ticket broker to returning to the old days of mailing in an order form. While all of the options considered had their own pros and cons, one thing was certain, the everyone-push-a-button-all-at-the-same-time model has been extremely problematic.

Working closely with the team at EPIC Registration, Comic-Con has decided to introduce a randomized waiting room. This decision was based on the number of suggestions we received and countless hours trying to find the fairest way to implement changes to what has been a problem plagued process. During 2014 badge preregistration, prospective attendees will be given a time frame in which they can log in to the EPIC waiting room prior to the badge sale. Once the badge sale begins, everyone who is inside the waiting room will be randomly assigned to a registration session. Your assigned registration session is not tied to the time you entered the waiting room. There is no advantage in arriving early.

Our hope in creating a randomized system is to alleviate the rush to purchase badges, which inevitably causes technical issues or prevents attendees from purchasing badges at all.

Again, thank you for your patience and for sticking with us! We are still in the process of load testing the system and preregistration for eligible attendees will not occur this weekend, February 1. Keep a close eye on this blog for additional tips and details in the following days.

Are you happy about this change? Upset? Let us know in the comments.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site’s resident panel guru.

  • Avenged110

    They can go f*** themselves.

  • schmidty4316

    So is this pretty much a lottery now?

  • I think we’re at the point where there just is no good way to handle the demand. A lottery — or rather, a pair of lotteries, one open to past attendees and one open to everyone — may very well be the least-bad option for now.

  • Not a fan of randomizing—I hated it for resales last year too! All this does is hurt those who have been going for a long time! I wish they would give returning folks the option to just renew their last year’s badge!

  • amykbstuff

    this can’t be the best way to do this. I liked it better when you registered in person at one con for the next year’s con. I can only assume that if my lottery number doesn’t come up in pre-reg, I’ll get another shot in the general herd’s lottery?

    Other than double prices to weed out fair-weather con-goers, my idea: start a system where you get points based on seniority. Each con day of each year earns you a point. volunteering could earn you extra points. when pre-reg comes around, the folks with points over X all get offered to buy badges A day. Folks with points lower than X but higher than Y get to buy badges B day. Continue down the line, and newbies still have some ridiculous system to deal with, but I’m offended that I have to deal with randomization for no good reason.

  • Nevik McClure

    It seems like Obamacare has come to ComiCon.

  • James Cliff

    *****Per CCI*****
    “Our hope in creating a randomized system is to alleviate the rush to purchase badges, which inevitably causes technical issues or prevents attendees from purchasing badges at all”

    CCI and EPIC (as in EPIC failure) Registration has failed to come up with a viable solution to handle the volume of incoming traffic of people attempting to buy a CCI pass. This new strategy (likely thought up by a 5 year old) will have ZERO impact in alleviating the rush. Rather than deal with complaints from people who waited in line first – plus we’re short on time and need to start selling passes – we will randomly select waiting rooms to give people the opportunity to buy a CCI pass.

    CCI….you guys are screwing over people who have been going for decades. The same people that spend the most money which helps San Diego and is spent on items related to the Comic Book industry. Most of the newcomers just want to see actors/actresses…many who promote movies and tv shows that have nothing to do with the comic book industry…..or get freebies…or get exclusives to sell on Ebay to make a quick buck.

  • Mel Shaw

    I don’t know why people feel they deserve preference b/c they have gone forever or went last year. If anything I almost feel like people who have never had the chance to go should get preference if we are dealing it out. I’ve gone the last two years and it’s been stressful hell worrying if I would get tickets or not, but I don’t think it means I should be favored to go again.

    I personally like this idea. It takes the pressure off of me and keeps me from blaming myself for ‘being too slow’, ‘having a crappy computer’, etc.. It either happens or it doesn’t and whichever it is, I can’t blame myself or feel like I should have done something differently.

  • STL_ben

    Entitled much? Give everyone a chance at the tickets who cares if you went before. There is a million reasons why someone may not have been able to go last year…so why do they deserve to go any less this year? I love going to this convention, but can only make the trip every few years…of course this probably means Im not as worthy as the rest of you.
    In other words I love the new system and hope I get in this year (but won’t hate the system if I don’t).

  • thegrunter

    Exactly! Just send me an email asking if I want the same tickets as last year, with an absolutely firm drop-dead time limit. No harm, no foul. Let the randomization occur in the new ticket sales. Don’t fuck over the veteran con-goers.

  • martisco

    Why should people who’ve been there a thousand times get to hog all the badges? Move over and let some other people enjoy Comic-Con. How selfish.

  • Tom

    The only “fair” way to fix the volume problem is to do something similar to what we do at the actual con. Too many people want to get into hall H? Get in line at damn midnight. Too many people want to buy a badge? Open the waiting room at a random time 24-48 hrs before badge sales begin and let people idle their computers in the waiting room over a longer period. This gives them a longer window to fix problems and it prevents people from knowing exactly when they need to login.

  • thegrunter

    And which group spends the most $ at the con? It ain’t the teenaged cosplayers, or the handful of people that spend the entire weekend camped out for Hall H.
    It’s the veteran con-goers who have propped up this pop culture event for decades that plan their entire vacations around this particular show, who bring the $ that the city and the convention center so desperately wants to attract.

  • C Brooke Hineser

    “Only those that have purchased a Comic-Con 2013 4-Day attendee or 1-Day
    attendee badge, have a valid Member ID, and retain their actual
    Comic-Con 2013 badge* will be eligible to participate in 2014 badge

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  • theartimus

    I love this idea. I’ve gone four times, but I realize those who’ve been there 5, 10, 15, or more times have done more to build the brand than I have. And without volunteers, the con couldn’t happen. Let those people have the first shot. Sure, it’s not perfect, as it would severely limited the ability for first timers, but with demand this high, there isn’t going to be a perfect option.

  • NHL Counterpoint

    I just find it funny that years of (mostly older) people complaining at Talkback panels has finally led to thus, but they *still* won’t address the Hall H problem, which also comes up at every single TalkBack panel. If you’ve been to Talkbacks, you know mostly older people complain about doing online pre-reg and how they want in-person pre-reg. I think this is their compromise on that, but still no addressing the Hall H problem.

  • What’s the Hall H problem? The lines? Avoid Hall H, problem solved.

  • NHL Counterpoint
  • amykbstuff

    I had a new idea driving home from work today… it would be a lot more work for volunteers and organizers, but what about dividing up the badges and panels by interest? There would be TV badges, Movie badges, Comics Badges, Academia Badges, etc. There would be floor-only badges as well. You could only attend panels color-coded the same way, but everyone would have access to the floor. (the pull-out schedule is already color-coded for type of panel.) It would mean Hall H could only be movies, or Ballroom 20 could only be TV, etc., but then people would need to prioritize the reason they’re there, and many people who go for a specialized reason – the comics panels or the academic panels, for instance, could get badges but wouldn’t clog up a spot someone else wanted. There would be more movie badges than academic badges, of course. If someone wanted both movie and TV, or whatever combo, after a certain date, people could buy second types of badges as well, but when you picked them up, your badge would have two stripes on it instead of two different badges, so there wouldn’t be a black market. Plus, besides the panels, people who only go for cosplay/masquerade, gaming, autographs, etc. could have a badge type as well, that just doesn’t get them into panels (or maybe the general “floor badge” would cover those types of things, I’m not sure what the overlap is). Sure, there would be backlash (“but I want TV AND Movies, and there’s no way I can buy both because they’ll sell out before anyone has a chance to buy two kinds!”), but people there for the older-school reasons would probably be okay, and the veterans tend to be the most outspoken about the issues in recent years.

  • martisco

    Well, I guess Comic-Con is really doomed then, because once all you “veteran con-goers” finally die off, only the teenaged cosplayers and camper-outers will be left, and WOE, they don’t spend any money.

    Selfish pricks, all of you.

  • Dan Zisko

    Exactly! There is already an economic model for this, sports team season tickets. You have until X day to buy the same badge as last year and then it goes back into the general sales.

    Also, raise the ticket price. The demand is high and the tickets are scarce, they could stand to go higher.

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  • Dae

    I have a great idea! Why don’t you put together a mega pop culture convention (that is the biggest in America) & tell me how well that goes? They’re experimenting & doing the best they can to accommodate as many people as possible. It’s impossible to work out a system that pleases everyone. This made evident by pricks like you.

  • Dae

    The problem is many newcomers hate the idea of pre-registration & want all the badges to sold to everyone (in other words themselves). Then they get in, they go, & then decide that pre-registration isn’t such an awful thing anymore because they benefit from it. People are just cynical. As long as they get they want, they’re happy. If the don’t they throw tantrums & blame the system for being “unfair”. But when it comes to comic-con “unfair” means “I’m not guaranteed to get what I want.

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  • thegrunter

    I would quite happily buy just a general floor badge if it were available.
    Aside from being routed through the ballrooms and upper meeting halls on Preview Night, I never bother to leave the show floor. I would be perfectly fine if that was all the access I was allowed.

  • thegrunter

    Anything worthwhile that happens in Hall H gets repeated thousands of times on regular media channels. There’s just no point to standing in that ridiculous line to see Tom Hiddleston’s speck of a head nearly half a football field away.

  • Linda Ann Mendoza

    Makes no sense in what they are doing.
    They should run comic con for 30 days that will help some of the traffic.think of the money they would make and a lot of people that have always wanted to go would be given the opportunity to go.
    This 4 day crap is not the answer make it like the fair.just saying.

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  • As others said, this is exactly how it works for sports season passes—people enter waiting lists to get into the system. 5 years ago I bought a hotel/ticket package to get into the system since you couldn’t buy tickets separately. I’ve made a lot of friends at SDCC over the years and this is the one time of year we get a chance to get together. It’s annoying to think that I could get shut out due to random luck and miss out on this annual tradition.

  • I’m the opposite–the only time I see the floor is the 3 hours on preview night (if lucky to get it), otherwise it’s just TV panels for me.

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