PAX Announces 2021 In-Person Events, Will Go Virtual if COVID Remains a “Major Barrier”

Nathan Birch

The COVID-19 pandemic that’s gripped the world for the better part of 2020 has obviously wreaked havoc on gaming conventions, with big events like E3, Gamescom, and PAX being canceled. Well, it seems the latter is eager to get back in the regular swing of things in 2021, today announcing dates for several in-person PAX events. You can check out those dates, below.

  • PAX East - June 3 to 6, 2021
  • PAX West - September 3 to 6, 2021
  • PAX Unplugged - December 10 to 12, 2021
  • PAX Aus will have more info coming soon

Somebody announcing dates for large, in-person conventions feels rather strange at this point, but PAX is quick to point out that these are only provisional dates that they’re providing now so potential participants can get ready. If COVID-19 is still a “major barrier” by mid-2021, PAX will either cancel shows or return to a virtual format.

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We'd like to take this opportunity to announce our prospective show dates for the 2021 calendar, and before we do, we want to be completely clear about why we're announcing them now and how the global COVID-19 situation impacts our plans in the coming year.

We're announcing our dates now to help partners plan for the upcoming year on how they might attend as well as provide a chance to start conversations about how to bring attendees, panelists, exhibitors, and our broader community together with these events that are 7 months away. Safety is our highest priority, and we want to put these shows on for you in a way that still feels like PAX, but these things require runway. Our rationale: with things being this complicated, why not tell everyone at once?

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 guest at risk for the sake of an event if things aren't on the up and up.

I’m sure some people will have some kneejerk reactions to this, but the fact is, vaccines are coming, as soon as this year, and holding big events may very well be a possibility again as soon as next summer. Or maybe it won’t be! Either way, we will get through this eventually, and it can’t hurt to start making plans.

What do you think? Assuming the pandemic is under control, would you be willing to attend a show like PAX as soon as next summer? Or will you be gun shy about such events for a while?

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