It’s been since 2019 since any of us had to deal with Comic-Con International waiting rooms and badge sales, and in that time, CCI has given the system a revamp just in time for November’s Comic Con Special Edition. Many were nervous, as we’ve all been conditioned to be triggered by the words “Comic-Con” and “badge sale”, but this morning’s badge sale went off (mostly) without a hitch.
Badges are still available for the November 26-28 convention, but we’re going to focus on the first hour or so of the sale.
So how did today’s sale go?
The Waiting Room
Gone is the EXPO Logic waiting room, as well as unique registration codes to enter. Instead, starting at 10AM, we all entered a page counting down to the sale, hosted by Queue-It (which is also what CCI utilizes for the hotel sale, so SDCC attendees should be at least vaguely familiar with it).
There was no benefit to arriving early, as once 11AM struck, everyone was randomized into a place in line. However, unlike under the EXPO Logic room where we were all swimming in a cereal bowl waiting for the big invisible cereal spoon to scoop us up randomly (a real metaphor CCI made, for those unfamiliar) — Queue-It offered a much clearer picture of the situation. Namely, it told you your expected wait time, both in terms of minutes you’d be waiting and the exact time it expected you would make it through. And with everyone’s favorite “walking man” in visual form.
This is a great benefit to using Queue-It, as everyone had a good idea of what their wait would be. If working within a group, you and your group could communicate about the order you would be making it through and strategize from there. We sincerely hope this system carries over to San Diego Comic-Con badge sales, if only for this feature. And we aren’t alone in hoping that happens.
@SD_Comic_Con I like the little walking dude and eta for entry to purchase. Much less anxiety provoking. #ccse #sdcc
— Jimmy Thehat (@Jimmythehat1) September 25, 2021
Yeah the estimated time was really nice, helped ease the stress. Also nice not having to worry about single days selling out before you could get in.
— Aileen Burns (@aileenburns) September 25, 2021
Immediately at 11AM, attendees reported getting through to purchase badges. Because there was only badge type available (3-day combined badges), the worry of specific days selling out was removed.
The sale was a breeze for the vast majority of attendees, with people getting through to purchase quickly.
I logged in at 10:45 – in the waiting room at 11, registered and checked out at 11:10. I need to buy Powerball tickets today.
— susan vega (@Jasperitis) September 25, 2021
I got my, and husband badges and a friends! took about 4 mins and we joined 10 minutes prior to log in. It’s definitely random. My husband joined at the same time as me and he got a 4 minute queue and mine was an hour. His boss joined an hour early and she got a 7 min queue.
— Daniel (@NoOneHere98) September 25, 2021
Got my tickets horray pic.twitter.com/0TlseZpx6C
— Arge (@koeitan) September 25, 2021
By 12:15, just 75 minutes into the sale, the wait time to get through to purchase badges was less than a minute.
Of course, as with any sale, there are a few issues and miscommunications. Though CCI’s Purchase Instructions showed that through a weird quirk of the new system, badges would show as “Free” until you clicked to Add to Cart, they probably didn’t explain this well enough. Many were very confused by this, worried that the “free” portion meant they were transferring their regular SDCC badge to November (they weren’t).
Got this at “adult free” at bottom of sign in page before adding to cart…so I opted out, wasnt sure if would effect 2022, which I have🤷🏽♂️, was iffy if going anyway pic.twitter.com/0ZQAqQVmN9
— El Jedi Viejo (@oldschoolinyou) September 25, 2021
Does the “free” badge designation in the cart mean I rolled up over my 2022 badge? I paid the $150 fee for CCSE.
— c_cahn_562g (@562g_c) September 25, 2021
By far the biggest “surprise” in the sale, though, was that it only allowed those with an address in the USA or Canada to checkout. If you entered an address in any other country, the system would not allow you to checkout. This was not communicated before the sale at all, and definitely should have been.
i could use a non-US card but my address had to be in the US? anyone else?
— molly ♌︎ (@m_ollymac) September 25, 2021
I couldn’t buy tickets because I don’t have a US/Canadian credit card. This is new, I didn’t have this problem before. 🤔
— Thelma E. Quintero (@TJBound) September 25, 2021
There were a few other folks with issues, but they were few and far between.
My friend was able to get our badges but it wouldn’t let us add a 3rd to our group, the ‘register another member’ button didn’t show up after he added the 2 of us. Thought we could buy up to 3?
— Aileen Burns (@aileenburns) September 25, 2021
Was not smooth for me. Spent literally 20 mins over and over submitting my CC info and it kept timing out. Only reason i got tix was cuz my friend got thru and it worked for him
— Jordan (@dammitjordan) September 25, 2021
Overview & Next Steps
This was a very smooth badge sale. Yes, demand is lower than San Diego Comic-Con — it’s unclear still what exhibitors and panels will be held at the convention, it’s during Thanksgiving weekend, there’s still a little thing called a pandemic ravaging the country — but even the addition of Queue-It makes it an improvement over some of the systems previously in place. And for those who have struggled to get badges to San Diego Comic-Con in the past, this is finally their chance to get a bit of that Comic-Con magic (and also as an added bonus, a slot in Returning Registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2023).
CCI needs to work on their communication, particularly about the confusing “Free” portion when adding to cart (it was pictured in their walkthrough, but they never called attention to it in the text or anywhere else), and regarding the international address issue.
But overall, we hope this system continues for San Diego Comic-Con in the future, with a few minor tweaks. This tweet perhaps best encapsulates many of the feelings about today’s sale:
If only the full event was that stress free 😅 this felt like back in 2009 when you could buy tickets a few months before the event before it turned into total chaos.
— Cap-Bri-bara (@BloodyHorrorBri) September 25, 2021