Google opened registration for its annual I/O developer conference today at 7 AM PDT, and just as it did last year, the event sold out pretty quickly. This year it took only 49 minutes for all the $900 (or $300 for school students and faculty) tickets to get gobbled up, even with the requirement that registrants have both Google+ and Google Wallet accounts (likely not much of a limiting factor, given the crowd). But server issues seem to have frustrated many attempted registrants early on, likely extending how long tickets remained available.
Payment seems to have been the major hiccup this time around, with many users reporting getting hung up on the Google Wallet part of the registration process, which is the only accepted means of actually buying a ticket. By contrasts, users began reporting successful transactions only a good 30 to 40 minutes after registration began.
Last year, Google I/O sold out in record time, in just under 30 minutes, while it took 59 minutes in 2011 (closer to how long it took today), a whopping 50 days in 2010, and 90 days in 2009. This year, it sold out about as quickly as last year, but there were plenty of reports of people being frustrated in their attempts to purchase tickets right from the start, so those delays could have kept the pace of registrations down. The increase in interest from developers looking to attend the conference over the past few years is no doubt a reflection of the rising Android surge in terms of smartphone share on a global scale: Android accounted for 68.4 percent of global smartphone OS market share in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.
Google obviously can’t accommodate the dramatic increase in demand for tickets to its annual developer event, but it is trying to supplement things as much as possible with live streaming coverage of keynotes, sessions and more from the Moscone Center, and with Google I/O Extended. Extended offers local viewing gatherings for Google developers hosted at Google’s regional and international offices, Google Developer Groups, and at schools by student ambassadors. It’s sort of a blend of being there for in-person interaction and attending remotely.
For all its efforts to make people who missed out on tickets feel better, there’s still bound to be plenty of frustration for developers who weren’t quick enough on the draw or who encountered slow server response and server errors. Dont’ worry though, there’s always next year, when tickets are bound to sell out just as fast with the same kind of hiccups.