This year’s PAX West and PAX Australia gaming conventions are cancelled and will be replaced by PAX Online, a series of live-streamed shows, panel discussions, and video game demos taking place from September 12-20, the show’s organisers announced today.
PAX conventions are typically a chance for people to meet up in person, checkout demos for upcoming games, and hear from designers, voice actors, and gaming influencers at panel Q&As. Due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, however, that’s not the case this year.
PAX West, which usually takes place in Seattle in late Northern Hemisphere summer around Labour Day weekend, and PAX Australia, which takes place in Melbourne in October, are cancelled this year. Instead, organisers ReedPop and Penny Arcade plan to hold a nine-day online event that will be free and try to replicate many of the same events digitally.
“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,” the companies said in a press release. It’s not clear yet where everything will be streamed or how stuff like the “hands-on demos” it promises will work exactly.
While many parts of the United States have begun to re-open following spikes in the number of deaths and new coronavirus cases earlier this year, the overall number of confirmed cases and deaths continue to grow. Seattle’s King County recently entered phase two of the state’s reopening plan, but even those guidelines limit social gatherings to five people or less, and prohibit meeting in-doors.
Similar restrictions are still in force in Australia, despite the reduced number of coronavirus cases in the country.
February’s PAX East in Boston was one of the last big public gaming events to occur before concerns about the spread of coronavirus led to the cancellations of Game Developers Conference, E3, Gamescom and more.