Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it felt like PAX East 2020 might end up being the last major gaming show of the year. However, Reedpop and Penny Arcade were trying to put together plans to continue with PAX West 2020 and their other shows, but those plans seem to have not come to fruition. Today both PAX West and PAX Australia have been cancelled, but something potentially better might be taking their place. PAX Online will be a nine day event from September 12th through the 20th that will be free for all to attend.
“PAX Online will serve as a digital space encompassing everything fans love about PAX Aus and West’s annual bash including surprising game reveals, hands-on demos, thrilling esports tournaments, a carefully curated selection in the Indie Showcase, as well as new partnerships bringing the virtual show floor to life as ReedPOP and Penny Arcade translate their creative vision into an accessible new format,” reads the announcement.
If you’re like me, PAX is one of your favorite gaming events so losing the in-person experience might be hard. PAX Online does seem to be offering a lot of the same types of experience. Panels will be featured, streaming on various services. There is even merch, though currently you can only purchase West and Explorer’s League themed items. Australia will be available for pre-order on the 23rd and we might see PAX Online specific items as well.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading around the world we’ve seen unprecedented cancellations of live events. These potential super spreader events might not return for quite a while, either once a treatment or vaccine becomes widely available. Some events have changed to fit the situation, adding more social distancing and sanitization measures, but it’s tough to get around a gaming convention without running into other people. PAX Unplugged, the board game version of Penny Arcade’s event may be next to go, but we’re waiting for more info as the event gets closer.