PAX East’s physical event, which was planned for June 3-6 in Boston, has been canceled. ReedPop and Penny Arcade canceled the show due to the ongoing pandemic.
Despite the cancellation, the organizers say they remain “cautiously optimistic” that PAX West and PAX Unplugged will go forward as in-person events in September and December, respectively.
While PAX East is canceled, ReedPop and Penny Arcade announced that an online show–PAX Online–will be held again this year, from July 15-18. The first PAX Online took place in 2020, and the organizers are building on it in 2021 with an Indie Showcase event and more.
“While we hoped PAX East could safely take place, we remained realistic and did not sell any tickets or space to exhibitors to avoid significantly inconveniencing our friends and partners,” ReedPop said. “As we have shown via our actions throughout the pandemic, our utmost concern is the safety of the PAX family–from attendees, exhibitors, and show staff to media and content creators–as well as the local communities that host our celebrations of all things gaming. We will only move forward with a live PAX once we are confident the show will be safe for everyone.”
ReedPop said it looks forward to bringing PAX East back to Boston in 2022. PAX East has a history with the pandemic, as its 2020 show went ahead normally in late February and early March 2020 just as the health crisis was picking up steam in the city and across the US.
Massachusetts’ reopening plan is currently in Step 1 of Phase IV, and under those guidelines, indoor gatherings at event venues or in public settings are limited to 100 people. PAX East is known to drawn thousands of attendees, so this would have caused an issue.
In Australia, PAX Aus is scheduled to go forward as an in-person event in Melbourne this October. Australia implemented strict and severe rules in response to the pandemic, including a months-long quarantine in Melbourne, which helped stamp out the virus in the country.
In other tradeshow news, the organizers of San Diego Comic-Con have made the bewildering announcement that a modified in-person version of the show will take place over Thanksgiving weekend this year. There has been a great backlash to the timing.