So Why Were There Booth Babes At PAX Aus?

So Why Were There Booth Babes At PAX Aus?

While there’s pretty much a consensus that PAX Aus was a massive success – great atmosphere, inclusive booths, friendly people – there was one thing that did seem a little odd. Being our first PAX down under, it actually took me a while to make the connection – a few naughty exhibitors had a less-than-serious approach to the expo’s policy of zero tolerance for booth babes.

The World of Tanks booth was arguably the guiltiest party, with tight red dresses and cleavage galore serving as dressing for the massive green tank hauled in – a wreath of titillation for the supposed hardcore gaming majority. But it’s this attitude that Penny Arcade vocally denounced when it introduced its booth babe ban, and I’ve quoted this forward-thinking stance when defending the expo against those who would claim it’s somehow morally lacking.

Sennheiser also seemed to treat the policy as more of a “guideline”, albeit with a little less skin, though their policewoman getups lacked any sort of context to gaming quality headphones.

Our community podcast, Potaku, attended a media Q&A with founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, in which they addressed the issue:

‘Yeah, I actually asked about that last night,’ Krahulik responded. ‘I was walking through the exhibition hall [on Saturday] and it was the first time I’d seen them – and in my head I definitely registered them as a booth babe. And so I asked…and apparently on Friday they were, it was worse, and so we asked them to put some clothes on, so what you saw yesterday was actually pretty good.’

You can catch the full post on that at the Potaku site, with more of the Q&A.

Organiser Guy “Yug” Blomberg was able to shed more light on the expo’s stance.

“We do have a policy in place, for both guys and girls,” he said. “For girls, there are things like no cleavage being allowed, and skirts no more than 5 inches above the knee. We certainly don’t have a problem with people dressing up as game characters and showing people their game, but with the Wargaming girls, after the first day we told them they had to cover up their legs.

“These are the growing pains of an inaugural expo, but it’s definitely something we’ll address in the future. “

With the size of such a project, and the normality with which booth babes are utilised in the gaming industry, some crossed wires (and crossed lines) are inevitable. But as more expos follow PAX’s lead, we’ll probably be seeing less and less of hired models.

And it makes sense. Regardless of one’s moral take on booth babes, it’s just not smart to tell a massive portion of your attendees “This area isn’t for you” – especially for a free-to-play game targetting as broad an audience as possible. But inclusivity is something observably built into every part of the expo – I don’t just mean race, gender, or orientation inclusivity, but a general “Come and play with us!” attitude which was genuinely enjoyable. It makes me feel sorry for the hasty few who stayed home on moral grounds. They missed the very thing they’re working towards.


  • what… no cleavage allowed?!?!?!
    i may as well neck myself now
    alot of the booth babes at CBIT this year had rather ‘risque’ outfits

  • I don’t understand why this is such a mountain in gaming yet such a mole hill in car shows? It just makes so little sense, I understand why people don’t like it, but it seems games shows are the only ones so completely attacked on the issue.

    • Although I’m sure you would get children at a car show, I’d take a guess that there would be many more children at PAX than a car show. Games are clearly more relevant to children – don’t need a driver’s license to play games,

      • What does that have to do with anything? You can walk down nearly any main street and see as much or more skin than you’d see at any expo.

        It can be taken too far, like that lollipop chainsaw outfit that caused a hissy fit, sure, but from what I’ve seen even what the WoT girls were wearing on day 1 was fairly tasteful.

      • Wasn’t there a 15+ age requirement just to get in the door at PAX? (and 18+ for some games/areas?) not including babies with their parents obviously.

        • Both the World Of Tanks and Senheiser girls being referred to were in the general admission area (no age restrictions). Only specific small booths (like Saints Row) had their demo hidden and people checking 18+ wristbands at the door. With the computer free play area being 15+ restricted that area and the tabletop game area were the only ones really accessible to the young, if those outfits were any more skimpy I could see parents of young children not bringing them back due to there only being one “appropriate” area. Either way, from what I could see 99% of the population was over 15 and 95% over 18.
          While I had no complaints about the booth babes I could see some people getting a little too excited but it was definitely the minority. In all truthfulness though with the “costumes” some people were wearing its kind of a moot point, they will always out under dress what you could convince a booth babe to wear.

          tl;dr: I see your point, but with the “costumes” being vastly more revealing than booth babes either make it a 15+ event and let the babes be babes or let parents decide at their discretion whether the event is appropriate. (or ban the costumes and booth babes, ruin the atmosphere, I wouldn’t come back)

      • Not that I’m disagreeing with you but the average gamer age is like 35….and god damn it we want booth babes

          • The wife and I been to sexpo heaps of times..what’s your point? We prefer sexy cosplay booth girls 😛

        • not all of us need mild titillation while attending a gaming con… there is a time and place for everything, and as stated if you want naked or near naked females goto a different con. Booth Babes and Booth Boys arent part of the PAX make up, which makes for IMHO anyway, a better event, which is about the games, the crowd, and the event, and not about which model is wearing the skimpiest clothes.

          • Yeah true, I guess we will stick to the comic cons and supanovas for the best pervs

    • I also don’t think the games industry is quite ready to resign itself to “The world of men”, when they could be making double the money.

      • You even said in the article about men and women banned from booth babing, what is wrong with either? And most car shows attract as many girls as a games show these days, things the the Sydney Car Expo has a huge female attendance, yet still no outrage.

        • Your confused, it’s not about female outrage, it’s tacky and dumb. Just follows that “gamers are immature” ideology. I’d much rather have someone at the booth that knows what they are talking about. Also I don’t want the same kind of bogan stigma as car shows, thanks.

          • ^This. I went to PAX for games, not for booth babes (or booth men, or whatever they are called…lol). It’s bad enough going to a booth like Nintendo and trying to talk to the hired idiots about a game they’ve clearly never played let alone a model who is simply hired to stand around.

            Only really helpful people are at the indie stands, mostly because you can usually find a (or the) dev/designer/whatever standing around their game.

        • Go back a few years and E3 became a bit of a worry, as well as some other trade shows, where their ‘booth babes’ were two pieces of string shy of being practically strippers coincidentally representing in theory games to draw in the male crowds. This did nothing to attract the female crowds to the games. It was a cheap, tacky tactic, and still is, to appeal to the lowest common denominator. PAX ideally tries to get people to represent their games without needing T & A however it looks like they’re already trying to get around the PAX rules here rather succesfully. A pity really.

    • Frankly, if it were up to me, no expos would have scantly clad woman/men for the sole purpose of attracting attention. It’s not so much that gaming expos are the only ones attacked by it, but rather the only industry that is inclusive enough to give a damn and is looking to make the effort in trying. That’s just me though.

      • Read above, I love how it’s just an attack on what men find attractive, how is scantily clad women any different to the objectification that say one direction are out through, but because they aren’t half naked it’s ok even if it’s aimed at young girls.

          • I’m not saying they don’t, but it’s never the objectification of men that’s in focus, although it happens but nobody is willing to care

          • I half agree with you – there is a valid point about male portrayals being a male power fantasy more than a female sexual fantasy, whereas many female portrayals are on the sexual side. But that doesn’t cover all characters, and I think the line is moving towards the middle.

          • whennnnn did you get here!

            I have been cold and lonely without your gentle gaming advice lulling me gently into relaxation.

    • I’d guess that women have always been a part of that, and as bad (or good?) as it is with car shows, games traditionally never had that.

      I’d say nip it in the bud where you can. As nice as it is, it’s not the spirit of the thing. And the whole media not understand gamers doesn’t help if the one thing they see are women being put on display.

      • I agree it shouldn’t be the way things are done, it just shocks me the outrage that takes place in this industry compared to the ones where practices originated, it’s the same with the whole women in gaming thing, I don’t disagree but it’s hardly games that started the problem

        • I’m not sure exactly how outraged people are. When i came here i was expecting the typical male-bashing but Junglist and the commenters here have been totally mature and insightful about the topic. I see no real outrage. I’m pretty sure it’s entirely irrelevant who started the problem. I also think it’s entirely irrelevant what other industries do. Why should games follow them or even be held to them? The main reason i hate it is that it’s tacky. Plain and simple, it’s the laziest marketing strategy anyone could ever hope to use and it doesn’t help that ethically it’s questionable. I mean in no way is it cool to exclude one half of the audience just because the PR company is ignorant.

    • Outside of Australia, it seems like quite a few car shows are banning them now too.

    • I don’t understand why people care at all, the entire things is stupid.

      I see more scantily clad women in lingerie on fucking billboards, BILLBOARDS people. I mean for christs sake what exactly are people opposed to?

      Is it the half naked people, well that can’t be it because they still allow naked cosplay and well everyone, even lil kiddies see people far worse every day. Jesus 10 y/o are probably using google for porn these days.

      So if it’s not the nakedness then what is it? Is it that the women are “sex objects”. Hmm what about god of war, should I be all rawr rawr kratos is naked and buff I’m offended because i don’t have a perfectly chiseled 300 spartan body ???

      At what point does this become absurd, i’d wager its already there. Seriously NO cleavage? The private catholic school attire for females i attended had cleavage. Going to also dictate how long the skirt is?

      What about short shorts, those show ALOOOOOOOT of skin too , going to ban those ?

      I mean real objectification of women is an actual problem but this is just mountain and mole hill BS. Especially when i look at the posted picture, which i assume is the “problem” world of tanks girls and then I’m speechless because unless this isn’t the offending picture it just looks beyond belief.

      • Heaven forbid an exhibit at an expo should have to stand on the merits of the product being offered, and not the attendants offering it.

        They’ve covered their reasons much more in-depth elsewhere. The main ones, though, are that a large percentage of the time, the booth babes don’t have a clue about the product they’re hocking (which is bad business when you’re trying to sell a product to people wandering by), and the other is that girls now make up a large portion of the gaming market.
        Having just got back from PAX Aus, I can attest to that. It alienates a huge market. This article explains it better. Your kneejerk assumption that it is imposing some lofty morals on an audience is pretty far off the mark.

    • Reverse it. Imagine the place had sweaty, half-naked muscle men instead of booth babes.

      Still comfortable with it?

      • If I was interested in what was being shown at the expo and that happened to be a form of marketing they used I would deal with it, if I was that unsettled by it, I wouldn’t go, which is my choice as a consenting adult. But why would I be uncomfortable with that? Does the human form of your own gender make you uncomfortable?

        • No, but I would feel intimidated by the ‘perfect specimens’ of my gender, and marginalised by the event that allows such behaviour, and isolated from a community that thrives on it.

    • Perception and audience.
      The perception amongst a lot of adults is that games are for kids, even though the majority of adults would have grown up with video games, a fair portion of them believe they have ‘outgrown’ them. And if they’re thinking of Q-Bert, they’re probably right.
      However, the mainstream media loves to hype anything up, so a gaming convention that has children present and semi naked females present, can easily be written to sound like the convention was some lecherous hive of scum and villainy.
      You can almost hear the moral gasp of alarm, the clasp to the chest in distress. It’s just too easy a target for it not to sell newspapers.

      The audience for cars is still heavily older male, and correspondingly their partners will be older, and less likely to have the passion, or even energy to care about booth babes – raising a family kinda takes most of your focus.
      It also still has a high boorish culture attached to it, and I suspect most women simply cannot be bothered putting up with that crap, for something that simply is a means to an end.

      The irony is, games have the emotional attachment that car manufacturers have long tried to capture.
      Adverts depicting long, empty, sweeping roads, the speed, the visions of freedom and adventure, the smiling dad driving whilst the wife looks lovingly at the (suspiciously happy) two kids in the back – that illusion shatters abruptly at 07.30 Monday morning when you’re stuck in city traffic.

      Games on the other hand, will have people talking about them fondly for decades . My ex still talks warmly about Grim Fandango, I won’t utter a bad word about System Shock 2, and people are openly hurt if a character is killed off in a game.
      Games make us think, appeal to us emotionally, and have a very low entry barrier – as such, are much appealing to both genders, thus we have greater vocal participation from the women.
      Believe me, we are a richer community for having them stand alongside us.

      So, and it’s taken me a while to get to this point, as females make up 50% of the gaming audience, it is only common sense to start making the gaming venues more gender friendly.
      Moreover, it is smart business sense to appeal to half your audience, so gaming companies will start targeting the female gamers more aggressively.
      I, for one, do not want to see the hip thrusting, ab hardened booth boys that promote Dance Dance Chippendales..

  • Wait, what?…. what am I missing here?

    If a company chooses to pimp their products with booth babes then shouldn’t they be the ones to wear that stigma? I’ve been to plenty of expos with random chicks pimping products, I’d just expect it?

    • Apparently as gamers we should be morally ashamed of ourselves for our animal instincts as this should only take place at literally any other kind of expo.

      • You obviously have no idea about the issue since you keep comparing it to other expos. This is not other expos, this is one particular one that has had a hard stance on the issue of booth babes for a long time. The reason they took that stance is because of the complaints of booth babes at other expos.
        Many car expos and other types have eliminated scantly clad girls from the floor so the argument that everyone else does it is invalid.

        You shouldn’t be morally ashamed of natural urges, but should be ashamed that you think it is healthy to have these things thrust in the face of families and children.

        Personally I go to gaming expos for games, not the girls who are paid to act friendly and thinks Mario is the Skyline driving doucebag who is taking her out after her shift.
        Better to go to the strippers, basically the same thing except you get a lap dance out of them and get to see the good bits

        • Of course there is a line, as I mentioned above the lollipop chainsaw fiasco from a previous pax was completely justified, that was too much, but attractively addressed anyone, such as how the WoT girls were dressed, is hardly offensive, nothing less than what you’d see walking the streets daily.

          • This is the issue, the issue is where is the line at. Obviously it’s going to be different for everybody and the guys from Penny Arcade run the show so they get to call the shots.

          • You just don’t get it, man. Actually read what people are saying, don’t just have this instinctive defiance and contempt for a concept you clearly have a limited understanding of. And that isn’t because of your stance, it’s because of the information you fail to address. It isn’t about seeing skin. AT ALL. It’s about depiction and ignorance.

        • Yeah maybe what I’m thinking is less full on that how they’re dressing. If the girls are wearing less clothes than a WWE diva then it would be pretty awkward/unnecessary.

      • Will you please quit this Doctrine of Relative Filth stuff? So car expos have booth babes. Gamers can’t influence that. PAX is obviously (and rather successfully) attempting to rise above using pseudo-strippers to sell games to Comic Book Guy.

    • Those particular companies will wear the stigma, but that booth, especially one of Wargaming’s size, affects the whole area. It’s like when you find someone offensively loud on the bus – it affects the whole bus, and that’s why the organisers have stepped in with policy to make the expo cooler for everyone. Certainly not all women are offended by it, but in a way it’s saying “This isn’t for you.”

      Again, not a moral thing. Just not smart business to exclude.

      • I didn’t realise how skimpy they dressed until I read all these comments (also, I hate that bus guy…. makes sense).

        If I had kids/girlfriend with me and the booth babes are dressed to levels of super awkward scant, then I would also feel like a grade A perv. I guess everyone loses.

    • PAX had about 80+% guys in attendance (my guestimate). Presumably, it is because of this that exhibitors want to use booth babes at such events (just pretending that gay people don’t exist to make the decision easier).

      But if you want to attract more females/families to an event like PAX, then it makes sense to ban booth babes. Its about the audience you are trying to attract, not necessarily the audience you have had historically.

      I for one am strongly supportive of PAX being a welcoming place for women gamers and children, and support the banning of booth babes. Morality and gender equality aside, I just think an expo would be more fun and diverse if it were less of a sausage fest.

        • Organiser Guy “Yug” Blomberg was able to shed more light on the expo’s stance.

          “We do have a policy in place, for both guys and girls,” he said. “For girls, there are things like no cleavage being allowed, and skirts no more than 5 inches above the knee. We certainly don’t have a problem with people dressing up as game characters and showing people their game, but with the Wargaming girls, after the first day we told them they had to cover up their legs.”

        • Anyone could answer that for him.


          Don’t be an idiot, they aren’t the same and you just missed the point.

  • “Sennheiser also seemed to treat the policy as more of a “guideline”, albeit with a little less skin, though their policewoman getups lacked any sort of context to gaming quality headphones.”

    The pictures of the Sennheiser girls says “The worlds most wanted headphone.”

    Probably the best advertising campaign I have ever seen. Without the police booth babes, the most wanted line would have just looked ridiculous!


    • Why not just have a morbidly obese dude in an orange jumpsuit? (as the most wanted criminal or something)? 😀

      • Yeah, but that’s far less likely to give me, OR the ladies a boner/ladyboner. Now, maybe an equal gender-representation of hot cons? Yeah, I could go for that.

        • Lol, someone tried that a while back and had booth bros in tight shorts and nothing else. People complained like mad (all guys). Those double standards huh

          • Well, let’s have all things being equal now… topless guys, topless girls…
            Girls in bikinis, guys in togs. Girls in tank-tops, guys in tank-tops… Anything else is one-upmanship, and worthy of offense!

      • The police uniform was because Sennheiser were using NFS Hot Pursuit to demo the headphones. Though maybe they were using Hot Pursuit as an excuse to have sexy cop booth babes.
        Either way, they and the WoT girls made it terribly awkward, I almost felt ashamed.

        Almost as bad were the American Riot guys (League of Legends) doing the “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” thing. I understand they’re PR guys and their job is to pump up the crowd, but it just seemed disrespectful. Especially as they seemed to be trying to drown out the much lower-key (and admittedly, slightly boring) Ubisoft shows.

  • Clearly the ones dressed up as police are cosplaying from leisure suite larry….they’re strippers pretending to be cops on an undercover job trying to bust the importation of illicit headphones…

    I’m sure it would have been enjoyable playing with the booth babes…

    See what I did there? Eh? Eh? Eh? :p

  • I went up to the booth babes to actually ask a question as the guys were all busy and they completely ignored me because I was female. Was not pleased.
    The world of tank girls didn’t bother me so much, at least a lot of their booth babes had actually played the game.
    I like that PAX are trying to bring more positive attitudes to gaming. I don’t see this as a bad thing.

    • They don’t have to know anything or only need to know minimal info about the product they help to sell. They are hired through model agencies and are generally pretty. They can ignore you as much as they like, they are not a shop assistant nor qualified to be one. However, their employer will not like their negligence, as there is usually some form of blind testing involved and this will have consequences. Point that out (to the employer) and you will have improved the situation.

  • I’d love to see how vocal the outcry would be if we’d seen some attractive dudes all dudded up in era-appropriate military uniforms to accompany the lasses. Something to be able to firmly rebuff the accusations of male-oriented gender representation in the booth’s eye-candy.

    Just so we can get down to what I suspect is the raw, naked truth: “NO TITILLATION OR EYE CANDY FOR ANYONE! That person is more attractive than me and generating interest because of it! That is an OUTRAGE! Stop short-circuiting our judgement by appealing to our base, animal instincts through cheap curvy/muscular trickery! I don’t care if seeing attractive people makes people happy, it shouldn’t! It goes against my ‘beauty is ONLY on the inside’ mantra!”

    I really think that’s where half the hubbub comes from, and I have absolutely no time for it, but it’s not out there on display for me to take proper aim at when there’s such obvious unequal gender representation getting in the way.

    • I think having male Booth babes would make me feel just as uncomfortable no matter how attractive they are. The way i see it, if they can’t tell me anything about the game, I’m not interested.
      Freedom fall had cosplay and it worked rather well.

      • How many retail stores have you gone into where the staff knew nothing? Same thing just different uniform.

      • I think having male Booth babes would make me feel just as uncomfortable no matter how attractive they are. The way i see it, if they can’t tell me anything about the game, I’m not interested.

        People forget this is where the policy actually comes from. Imagine those male booth babes wearing banana hammocks and just sort of jamming it right at you under the assumption that that is why you came over, flirting with you in a really transparently fake way and not being able to answer any of your questions properly.
        That’s pretty much what booth babes leads to. Especially in our industry where the people with serious money to put on these shows don’t really think highly of gamers. It’s distracting and uncomfortable for a lot of gamers who try pretty hard to stay away from being viewed as basement dwelling losers who’ll empty their wallets for the slightest hint of female attention.

  • I saw the “police” booth babes (you can say whatever you want, that’s what they were) and thought it was incredibly tacky, brought the standards of the show down quite a bit, especially considering the supposed ban. But hey, people seemed to be queueing up all day to have photos, so what do I know?

    • I agree with you about the “police” booth babes, i’m not sure how to put this but they just felt weird and out of place to me. though for some reason the wargaming booth babes did not seem to come across this way, i think it was because i felt the sennhieser booth babes were just trying too hard to be ‘appealing’

      • I think it was because the booth babes for Wargaming were dressed in a military theme so they kinda had some connection to the product. The only connection the police uniform had to headphones was because some marketing person came up with the phrase “most wanted headphones” which just seems too much of a stretch.

  • Sorry? Where is the issue here? What is wrong with girls wearing revealing cloths?

    It doesn’t matter what purpose, whether or not it’s to advertise, attract attention, or because they just want to. They’re not naked, so there is no problem.

    You just can’t tell people what to wear, and you just can’t automatically assume that if a female is wearing minimal clothes that’s she’s just there to get your attention and decieve you into buying something. That’s what we call sexism and slut shaming.

    And if you’re offended by it being overtly sexual, that is on you, not the girls, for looking at it from that perspective. There is a million different contexts for why a woman would want to wear minimal clothing, from fashion to cosplay to comfort; gamers assuming their intentions, gamers discrediting them due to minimal clothing, and gamers shaming them for wearing clothes that they don’t agree with is nothing short of disgusting, and unfortunately, unsurprising.

    If they’re wearing revealing clothing to sell something to you, then that’s your fault for being so god damn sexualised that you can’t view a female body without it contributing to your erection.

    Again: if they’re not naked, then there is no problem.

    • Th problem with that argument is that someone is telling booth babies what to wear, it’s the companies employing them.

        • Generally they work for a third party labour company. I didn’t check how it was this time, but at Nintendo events and expo booths I’ve seen in the past (in Australia), 80% of staff are hired for the event and that’s it. You can generally be confident with Nintendo that if it is a guy working the booth, they work for Nintendo all year around, but the girls are far more likely to be temp staff.

      • They are hired by model agencies. In the contract you have to state if you feel comfortable or not doing lingerie ads. If you are not, then you will not be “forced” to wear these outfits.

  • The outifts at PAX Melbourne were neither offensive, or innappropriate. What/who exactly are people trying to protect here? The whole argument (particularly in this instance) is dripping in inane political correctness.

    If these publishers want to promote their products this way, its their choice!

    If you don’t like it use market power, vote with your dollars.

    • They were neither offensive or inappropriate BECAUSE of the stance on booth babes. A couple of girls dressed up as Russian soldiers was as bad as it got, but they were up on one of the few (only, perhaps) elevated platforms, and part of a very loud flashy exhibit.

  • WTF is wrong with booth babes? And if you choose to put booth dudes there, great!

    Seriously, get over it.

  • Urgh.

    “We do have a policy in place, for both guys and girls,” he said. “For girls, there are things like no cleavage being allowed, and skirts no more than 5 inches above the knee. ”

    Absolutely pathetic. Seriously, post that quote to anyone and ask them to guess what the context is. One of their first responses will probably be, “Yemen?”

    What? Is this North Korea? The Middle-East? Really?

    It also makes me laugh how some media commentators condemn “conservative censorship” as per the Saints Row IV banning, despite the fact it’s PROGRESSIVE censorship. Same shit here: we condemn such restrictions in Islamic countries, yet don’t condone it here on the grounds of progressively-determined standards of morality.

    “It objectifies women.”

    You’re totally right. How do we stop this? We should turn to countries like Yemen, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, where any sort of physical exposure is punishable by death. Maybe if we sell off our women young enough to the eldest males, they won’t be tempted by the sexualisation of society when they’re adults. No more booth babes! Yay!

    Give me a break!

    I mean, this sort of stuff is the stuff we see in ULTRA CONSERVATIVE countries. Yet the progressives fight for this shit? Who caresssssssssss.

    • My first response would be a professional workplace. It’s a code of conduct for exhibitors not a way of life. They’re also presumably not allowed to drink, swear constantly, use a megaphone constantly or have sex on stage. Not because those things are horrible but because they’re expected to act like professionals.

  • May I ask, whats the difference between a booth babe vs a scantily clad ‘professional’ cosplayer? I know there were some cosplayers going to PAX planning quite skimpy outfits.

    • Nothing.

      And there is nothing wrong with either of them, unless you instantly view any exposure to the female body as sexualised, and if you view anything sexualised as offensive.

      So basically, unless you’re a backwards, sexist pig, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with cosplayers in minimal cloths, nor booth babes. Unless you’re a backwards, sexist pig, there shouldn’t be any need to question their credibilty, or more specifically, question their credibilty with a condescending use of quotation marks.

  • Personally I’m rather disappointed the PAX organizers didn’t come out swinging harder.

    If one company does it and gets a tiny little smack on the wrist for it (‘put some pants on please’), the others will just follow suite next year.

    I know the World of Tanks guys had a huge pavilion, so they were paying a lot of money for it, but they are flagrantly ignoring the booth babe ban. I know, I know, people have mixed opinions on booth babes, but what really irritates me is that 1) they completely ignored the rules, and 2) they didn’t get punished for it at all.

    They’ll just push even harder next year, no doubt.

  • In most things I’ve read in relation to these kinds of situations I’d just kinda hoped it was a case of Americans being overly prudish in regards to things pertaining to sex, as they are wont to do. But I guess we have sticks up our collective asses as well when it comes to a bit of skin. Not like these girls are buck naked, spread eagle on a stage for all to see. Ain’t no harm in a bit of cleavage, certainly no harm in LEG.

    • Shh. You let women show a little ankle and the next thing you know, there’s calves showing everywhere and god forbid maybe even petticoats.

  • Piat, you’re a sad Men’s Rights Activist.

    When someone rapes your son for dressing like ‘he was asking for it’ get back to us.

    In the meantime, head back to 1950 and huff at some blacks who look like they’re going to use YOUR toilets.

    Don’t worry, they won’t, because in 1950 – as it is now – you are at the top of the social pile and no one’s gonna steal your stuff.

    • Eh what?
      Could you put your comment in context, by say replying to a specific comment of his or at least quoting him, I’m having a hard time understanding your motivation here.

    • If you’re going to try and insult me at least have the guts to make an account and perhaps even reply to me directly.

      • I did reply to you directly, your name as the first word should have given that away. I can’t be bothered with an account and I don’t see why that is a big issue for you – does it let you punch me on the internet or something?

        You’re a horribly bigoted individual who exemplifies WHY we have these discussions in the first place. You simply don’t see women as being placed in a continually disadvantaged place in society due to perspectives like yours and that’s despicable.

        I know you THINK you’re having a deep philosophical discussion, as do all MRA’s, but the level of false equivalency is mind boggling.

        Quite simply, all over the world women are made victims of physical and sexual violence based on notions of ‘appearance’. These notions are not genetic, they are culturally-derived.

        They exist because of people like you making your ‘animal instincts’ a part of the cultural process.

        That sucks, stop being like you are.

        While you sit there pounding your keyboard with ham-like fists to say ‘WELL WHAT ABOUT MEN’ there are millions of women physically and emotionally scarred by the violation of their bodies and freedom by men who can’t control their ‘animal instincts’. There are nowhere near as many men in the same situation but those who are, are there for the same reason.

        It’s because people like you don’t realise your ‘animal instincts’ can be controlled completely in order to respect others.

  • I’m not one for objectifying women, but am I the only one who can still appreciate and not get upset over attractive women? PAX is an event of indulgence for us, and I just accepted the booth babes as part of it. If they put had a booth bro out for the ladies, I really wouldn’t care, it’s just part of the fun. Many of the female cosplayers were more raunchy than the booth babes anyway.

  • The source of the problem and always is the parents responsibility. If you know an expo is going to have some half naked hot woman flaunting her ASSets then don’t take your kids there.

    Kids will see sex or alots of sking everywhere on their facebook pages. its up to parents to control that.

    • That and the fact that plenty of school girls reveal more than booth babes do, for free, for the sole intent of sexualising themselves. Yet parents let them walk out of the house like that, then kick up a fuss about someone actually promoting something(whether appropriately or not).

  • Do I care if they’re there? No.
    Do I care if they’re not there? No.
    Is it any different to cosplayers wearing next to nothing? I don’t think so, they’re both there dressed that way for something. One for free, for attention and promotion. The other for money, for attention and promotion.
    But what about context? Well then may as well throw out 90% of the booth promoters at those events. Some try to appeal to me through sex, some try to appeal to me through fun, either way both offer lies and false promises.

    That’s just me though.

  • A lot of the comments here seem to be missing the point that PAX’s attitude traditionally has been that booth babes are about selling themselves rather than the product.
    “The policy against booth babes attempts to foster an environment where women are around to sell the products, not to be the products.”

    The idea is that if they’re there to sell the product, they don’t really need skimpy clothing to do that in!

      • As someone who attended PAX, the Sennheiser booth attendants were much more scantily clad the first day.
        And the difference is with cosplay is that they’re not there to sell a product, unlike an employed booth attendant. They’re dressing up because that’s what they’re trying to do.

        • Thanks for clarifying.

          Personally, if they kept it to the level shown in the photos, and not to the level shown in the first day, I don’t have a problem with it, either male or female.

  • Yeah, I passed the Sennheiser booth and wondered for a second if it was PAX that had the anti-booth babe thing or something else I had read about (yay I was right). In any case, it was the first one here, can’t expect everything to go perfectly.

  • I was more than a bit surprised to see the booth babes there. One of the things that appealed to me about PAX was the fact that they had banned them. Surprise quickly turned into annoyance, when the World of Tanks girls more or less ignored me in favour of the men streaming by when I wanted to get a quest card. But at least they were kind of keeping in the theme of things – the uniforms wouldn’t have looked out of place in a . The Sennheiser booth was just plain tacky; it’s actually put me off buying any of their stuff.

    There’s a difference between booth babes and revealing cosplay. The former is about objectification. The latter is about having fun.

  • This is ridiculous. Why do sports games have attractive cheerleaders? Why do you see models against cars? When they have good looking girls handing out samples of drinks or other consumables or cards for clubs on city streets, is this a problem?

    The girls in question get paid for these jobs. If they don’t want to do it, they won’t. If they do, they will. If you ban it, they don’t paid.

    I personally think this is a knee-jerk overreaction “flow-on” to that sexually explicit event that GAMES had awhile back, or just a similar oversight in political correctness. Political correctness is great, but this is a gaming event and the line should be drawn at the common sense version of “respect”.

  • The Sennheiser “sexy” cop girls were tacky as all hell, but what annoyed me most about them was that they were sporting exactly the same orange-cap-in-barrel toy guns as some cosplayers I was queued with – I witnessed an enforcer telling those folks they’d have to get rid of the guns as they wouldn’t be allowed through the gate. Guess they would’ve been just fine if they had an exhibitor pass, eh?

  • my only problem is how it changes assumptions about all females involved in exhibiting (products). At one point in a line, an attractive girl in a tight top came up to the guys behind me trying to sell an android phone game controller. The guys, assuming she was hired help, quick fired a bunch of technical questions at her, which she was able to answer and elaborate on. So we then figured she was a female company employee who happened to be attractive.

    Which got me to thinking, that should have been our first assumption. But because of the booth babe culture, this girl had to work to earn cred, which a bloke in the same situation wouldn’t have had to do. Which obviously isn’t fair.

    On the flip side, the WoT girls gave me something nice to look at while I was in that unrelated line. So swings and roundabouts I guess. I still have no interest in World of Tanks.

  • I didn’t even notice the WoT girls – I guess I was even less interested in that game than I thought.

    The Sennheiser girls made me look silly in front of my wife, because only a couple of minutes before we saw them I’d been talking up the “no booth babes” policy. As soon as she spotted them I got a “No booth babes, huh?”. My response was a mixture of “depends on how you define booth babe” and “maybe they’re attractive product experts”. I chatted with a couple of them on Saturday evening, and they were lovely girls, but decidedly light on product knowledge, so definitely booth babes.

  • Booth babes are amazing and there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re there to offset the sheer ugliness of the average convention patron. Honestly, when you’re walking around all of those neckbeards, it’s nice to have something attractive to look at.

  • To be fair on the crew, their booth babes were also capable players of their game. They absolutely stomped a five person team of PAX-goers in a series of three matches. This, at least, is an improvement on purely being hired sex appeal – they have some personal connection to the game they are advertising.

  • This entire policy is misguided.

    Women are not threatened by other womens bodies and this policy seems more derived to make men feel like they are “doing something” to address sexism in gaming whilst not really doing anything at all other than putting some lame rules on advertisers.

    To be succinct about it –

    Things that do not cause sexism:
    – Being pretty.
    – Showing cleavage.
    – Wearing a short skirt.

    Things that cause sexism:
    – Being sexist.

    To wit – the problem is with the observers, not with the “booth babes”. I’m sure everyone is really well meaning about this, but there are other people out there who certainly think they are well meaning and we feel are quite sexist, for instance, the various countries and cultures around the world that force women to wear hijabs or burkas or be viewed as whores. I know that sounds very strong, but this sort of attempt to “battle sexism” on behalf of well meaning game event organisers and the gaming media relies upon the fallacy that the problem is with the women, or the portrayl of them, and not with how people are interpretting it, or acting upon it, which is paradoxically, something outside of their ultimate control.

  • My wife loves booth babes, never let anyone tell you that all women are against the practice. My own view is that they are suitable for some events and products, and less so with others. Finding the balance is key, open season or blanket bans will just leave everyone pissed off.

  • Whiteknighting idiocy.
    Go to Comic Con in San Diego and see how fun if can be when they do the opposite. Both males and females enjoy that spectacle equally.
    Really, being overly concerned about superficial displays of skin has so little bearing on gender equality… it’s nothing more than an embarrassing sideline- going after a pseudo-target to make themselves feel better.

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