I attended Minecon 2016. I worked as a volunteer. It was a lot of fun, but I can understand why Mojang went with the new format.
First of all, the original Minecon was VERY expensive. Tickets were $110 per person. Not only that, most people that attended were travelling in from some other place, so you have to factor in the travel expenses (hundreds to thousands of dollars) as well as food and lodging.
Second, the number of tickets was limited. There were only 10,000 tickets sold to the event. When the tickets went on sale (two batches of 5,000) each time they sold out all of the tickets within about 30 seconds after they went on sale.
Third, people buying tickets just to get the cape. People didn't realize that the capes only worked for the Java edition players. Also, you had to physically attend the convention in order for your ticket to become validated and then Mojang would eMail you the code to get the cape. Also, if you bought your ticket to the convention from a scalper, you wouldn't get the cape. The cape codes were sent to the person who originally bought the ticket. So guess what they would do? The scalper would then sell the cape code on eBay for a few hundred dollars, while you, the person that bought the ticket from the scalper for several hundred dollars would not get the cape that you were hoping for.
Although I loved the experience, and I wish it could have continued, I understand why they made the change. Just look at some of the older threads here in the Minecon section of the forums. No matter where the convention was held at, there was always someone complaining about it being "too far for them to travel" or "the tickets were all sold out" or "it's too expensive!" At least with the online version everyone can in a sense "attend" something. And with the various Minecon parties dotted around the globe, there is still a chance to meet up with other players and YouTubers. I know it's not the same, but they are doing their best to try to accommodate everyone.
I can not say enough how much I HATE the new format. Yes say what you will about the prices and stuff but I don't see anyone complaining about how expensive Comic-Con is. Yes I hear you about the capes and stuff but there is more to Mine-con then capes. You want to stop doing a in person mine-con? Fine but then stop calling it CON. Con is short for convention... this indicates people getting together IN PERSON!
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