San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Preregistration Recap: I Wanna Be In The Room Where It Happens

Well, that was eventful.

For better or worse, several thousand Comic-Con attendees have their badges for 2016 — and several thousand more don’t yet.

Preregistration for San Diego Comic-Con 2016 — the badge sale for eligible returning general attendees — took place this morning. The process included use of the EPIC Registration Waiting Room, which has been in place since Comic-Con 2014, but it didn’t go as smoothly as other years. Still, it was far from a failure.

So just how did the sale go?

The Waiting Room

The EPIC Registration waiting room opened promptly at 8AM PT, giving attendees one hour in which to enter before the room would randomly sort attendees to buy their badge. In the last two Preregistration sales, Comic-Con has given attendees two hours in which to enter (though the time in which you enter doesn’t matter, so long as you’re in by 9AM PT), but this one-hour timeframe was also used in Open Registration for 2015.

For whatever reason, the process, which has been pretty streamlined up until now, had way more issues and errors and glitches than usual. Attendees reported everything from error messages, to being kicked out of the room, to being told their devices weren’t authorized, and more.

Several hundred attendees also reported being sent to this page, where clicking “Continue” worked sometimes, and sometimes just held on the screen.


After about half an hour, Comic-Con International let attendees know that they were working to resolve the issue.

And finally, at 8:54AM — with a whole six minutes to spare before the waiting room would close — CCI announced that EPIC had resolved the issue, and the sale would continue on as planned at 9AM.

This was probably the worst scenario we’ve seen with the waiting room since its implementation, and although it seems that for most attendees the issue sorted itself out in time (even if just barely), it may be a case for going back to two hours for the waiting room time.

The Sale

Shortly after 9AM, those in the waiting room were randomly assigned a placement in line. Just like for 2015 Preregistration, this process took about 10 minutes, and once the sorting was done, attendees were already getting through to the purchase page. Unlike the actual waiting room process, this went very smoothly, if a little slower than previous years.

We only saw a handful of issues once the sale actually started:

With things moving a little slower this year — likely to help curb whatever issue plagued EPIC earlier in the day, it took a little longer for badges to sell out. While Preview Night was gone in 23 minutes last year, this year it took 39. Similarly, while it took Friday and Saturday 39 minutes for 2015, this year it took 55 and 57, respectively.

Less than 77 minutes in, all badges for Preregistration were completely sold out — a little more than the 50 minutes it took last year.

Overview & Next Steps

So what happened with the waiting room today? We may never know, but hopefully it was something that both Comic-Con and EPIC can learn from, and improve upon for Open Registration.

Speaking of, Open Registration — the badge sale available to anyone with a Member ID — will take place in early 2016. During this sale, all badge types will be available (so just because a badge sold out today, doesn’t mean it’s gone forever). So long as you didn’t purchase all four days plus Preview Night, you’ll be able to participate to pick up any days you weren’t able to get today.

Badges will be mailed to the U.S. addresses you entered into the system today, though they likely won’t be mailed until late June/early July.

Were you able to get what you wanted today? 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.

  • Kryptography

    Has SDCC confirmed that they sold 50% of badges?

  • Julie

    You didn’t mention another problem: the blue spinning circle that indicates your waiting room page is active kept disappearing.

  • Alyssa

    The lag and glitches early on definitely gave me anxiety but I’m glad it got all sorted out and I was able to purchase a Thursday and Sunday badge right before they all sold out. And lucky me, I get to go through this all over again during Open Reg to get the other days. Woohoo? 🙂 But I have a question regarding the whole mailing our badge thing…I used my address when I purchased my Thursday and Sunday badges but what if a friend is able to buy the other days for me during Open Reg but they enter their shipping address instead, will all my badges (ex. a 4 day badge) be mailed to the former or latter address?

  • Flinkman

    I also had the blue spinning circle keep disappearing on me in the waiting room too, but…it didn’t hinder me at all once the process started. I was sorted into a VERY early group and got all four days and preview night! It was a Saturday morning miracle!

  • Kathy C

    First time in 10 years I did not get a pass. Really disappointing. I was kicked out of waiting room and got back in but never got through waiting room.

  • Kerry Dixon

    No — but there are indications that it’s at least close.

  • Kerry

    No – but there are several indicators that that’s at least close.

  • theartimus

    I didn’t think pre reg sold that many. Now, you’ve got me nervous.

  • Steve

    Had two PCs, each using different browsers, one wireless and one wired. Had intermittent problems on both, but eventually everything worked out and scored two 5-day passes at about 20 minutes in. Nerve wracking, to be sure. I wish they would just use Ticketmaster.

  • Raymond Barkley

    This year sucked. First time in 10 years that I only got a Sunday pass. The epic registration is the worst thing ever! Blue spinning circle, should be called the disappearing blue spinning circle.

  • Kerry Vanderberg

    Other than those hiccups with the blue spinning wheel at the beginning (which sorted themselves out anyways), everything went very smoothly for me. I was able to get all four days plus preview night for me and my cousin. I had my laptop, and my iPad going, and the iPad got selected after I did. So I was VERY happy this morning!

    Now we’ll see if I can get a couple of my friends to go and help them get passes at Open Registration.

  • Jon Allen

    I don’t want to pay Ticketmaster’s inflated service charges, and SDCC thankfully doesn’t want us to either.

  • Lawrence Ahtuck

    Two things I’d actually like to see implemented into the badge buying system.

    1. Allow you to place the Member ID and last names of the individuals you’d like to purchase badges for.

    2. Allow you to place your credit card information into the system.

    This will save time and errors being made when you’re attempting to purchase badges – this is especially true since this is a time-sensitive event.

  • Annika A

    First time in 11 years and I got nada. I’m still not over it. 🙁

  • The Great Leon

    people would worry about hackers with #2.

  • Lawrence Ahtuck

    I agree with you on that. However, credit card information is already being passed through the system when you purchase the badge(s). I think the retention of the credit card information is one key problem – maybe what can be done is having folks enter their credit card information into the system and once the purchases have been completed, that information is automatically wiped? Much like when we are required to enter registration information by a certain date, the credit card information can also be added at the same time?

    I would figure that a third party credit handling agency would take care of the transactions, which limits the liability of SDCC if a breach should occur; they too would be insured in the event something like that happened.

  • Martin Gomez

    We had major issues at the beginning, but the glitches went away after they announced fixing it.

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