The COVID-19 pandemic that brought a very sudden halt to gaming conventions like E3, PAX, and Gamescom in 2020 is still raging, but despite that, the Penny Arcade folks have announced the dates for the 2021 slate of PAX events. Organizers acknowledged that the dates are "optimistic" and scheduled shows ultimately may not come to pass, but said that they're announcing dates now to help with planning and "start conversations about how to bring attendees, panelists, exhibitors, and our broader community together."
"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," PAX organizers said in the announcement. "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."
Here's what's planned:
- PAX East will take place June 3 - 6, 2021
- PAX West will take place September 3 - 6, 2021
- PAX Aus will have more info coming soon
- PAX Unplugged will take place December 10 - 12, 2021
PAX South will not be taking place in 2021 but will return in 2022, and PAX Australia is still being worked out—a date for that show will be announced "in the next few weeks."
With optimism and safety in mind, we're announcing our #PAX 2021 Dates. Read the full statement below: pic.twitter.com/dDMhsJwd7tDecember 4, 2020
It is an optimistic schedule: COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to climb in the US, and questions about potential vaccine supply and distribution remain unanswered. I don't want to rain on anybody's parade, but I'll be surprised if these shows actually take place.
The timing of PAX East is interesting, too: In previous years they've been held in March or April, and moving it to June for 2021 puts it less than two weeks ahead of E3, which is scheduled—again, tentatively—to run June 15-17. It's traditionally preceded by a few days of pre-E3 press events held by major publishers, which makes the gap between the two even tighter.
Penny Arcade said that more detailed announcements about 2021 PAX events, including panels, exhibitor lists, and whether or not they're actually going to happen, will be made closer to their scheduled start dates.