As the COVID-19 pandemic has gotten worse over the last year PAX East 2020 has felt like the last gaming convention I and many others would ever attend. It happened at the end of February, right when the situation became clearly serious but not enough to cancel the entire event. Since then practically every gaming convention in the world, including PAX West and Unplugged have been cancelled throughout 2020. But it seems they’ll finally be back next year with ReedPop announcing official dates for PAX East, West, and Unplugged 2021, though things can always change depending on how the pandemic is progressing.
“ReedPop and Penny Arcade look forward to welcoming gamers home in 2021 to North America’s most-attended gaming events: PAX East, PAX West, and PAX Unplugged,” reads the official announcement. “Next year’s shows will only move forward with the support and guidance of local governments and health officials.”
As far as when the show will go on, some things have been changed, while others remained the same. The locations have all been unchanged, but PAX East especially has been shifted on the calendar.
“PAX East will return June 3 through June 6 in Boston, MA, followed by PAX West 2021 in Seattle from Sept. 3 through Sept. 6 and PAX Unplugged in Philly from Dec. 10 through Dec. 12. At all three shows, can’t-miss panels, hands-on demos, meet-and-greets with beloved industry guests, and thrilling announcements await.”
These shows will certainly be very different from how they were before, with tens of thousands of gamers all crammed together in convention centers. PAX East 2020 had already taken measure against the COVID-19 pandemic, with sanitizer available everywhere and crews cleaning nonstop. That seemed to pay off since it did not end up becoming a super spreader event like so many other things in early 2020. Other changes are sure to come so watch for more info as the shows get closer.
It does look like PAX South, the smaller of the video game focused PAX events which usually takes place in San Antonio earlier in the year, might still be cancelled. No announcement was made, but its exclusion is a pretty clear sign.
UPDATE: More info can be found in the official blog from PAX. They confirm that PAX South is still cancelled for 2021, but that it should still return in 2022. Also, more info could be coming for PAX Australia. They also explain why they are announcing these dates now when they could be changed due to the circumstances, calling this an “optimistic scenario”.
“Let’s just say the quiet part out loud: if COVID-19 remains a major barrier to safely gathering at one of our shows, we won’t do it or we will take it virtual. As much as we miss, even crave, the togetherness and magic of a PAX, we will not put attendees, exhibitors, or our guests at risk for the sake of an event if things aren’t on the up and up.”
- This article was updated on:December 4th, 2020