LAN Parties Get Advice, Coordination And Swag From Palit

San Jose (CA) - Beginning LAN party organizers often struggle with mind-numbing business details, but that's about to change with Palit's launch of what it calls the "ultimate LAN party resource". The website, which went live this Saturday, aims itself at helping small LAN parties by providing advice, backend credit card processing and even loaner equipment. Organizers can also apply for valuable prizes for their attendees like shirts and graphics cards.

Palit's David Makin tells us the site is specifically designed to help LAN parties with fewer than 100 attendees. Those events will receive marketing materials like stickers, shirts and graphics cards through the site. "Every party, even if you only have 10 people in your garage, gets something," said Makin.

In addition to merchandise, the website will have an event calendar along with a registration system that can take credit cards. Smaller events often cannot get a credit card machine and spend tremendous manpower on registration, but organizers can now offload that task to the website. There will also be a "party builder" flash application that lets LAN parties draw up table, seats and power requirements. Attendees themselves can register with PalitLan and then upload pictures of their gear and sign up for other LAN parties.

It's not going to be just Palit that is giving away merchandise, other hardware makers are invited to participate. Makin tells us he will share banner space and will match up sponsors to LAN parties. "No real LAN party failed because of the lack of prizes," Makin said, but of course some people attend just for a chance to win a shiny new graphics card.

Companies love to send promotional shirts, stickers and hardware to events, but PR reps can get worn out with logistics. "How do you determine who gets what? You could spend your whole day talking to LAN parties," said Makin. His solution is to have the companies send all their products to PalitLan and then he'll work out the ugly logistics and shipping.

Companies also want a decent return on their investment - were the prizes actually given out to attendees or taken by event organizers? Did the companies get proper product placement? The PalitLAN site will try to keep LAN organizers honest by requiring them to upload at least 5 to 10 photos of the event and products.

But why the focus on small LAN parties? According to Makin, all the true action is in the small arenas with people putting up events in bingo halls, basements and yes even garages. He also tells us that LAN parties tend to morph into large corporate events that are no longer that much fun.

"At big events, people are just there to win prizes. But people going to a classic LAN party just want to game. Winning is not the point there."