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PAX (event)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

GenreGaming (video game, tabletop, CCG, role-playing)
CountryUnited States
InauguratedPAX West:
August 28–29, 2004
Other PAX(s)
  • PAX East:
  • March 26–28, 2010
  • PAX Dev:
  • August 24–25, 2011
  • PAX Aus:
  • July 19–21, 2013
  • PAX South:
  • January 23–25, 2015
  • PAX Unplugged:
  • November 17–19, 2017
Most recentPAX East:
March 21–24, 2024
Other PAX(s)
  • PAX Unplugged:
  • December 1–3, 2023
  • PAX Aus:
  • October 6–8, 2023
  • PAX West:
  • September 1–4, 2023
  • PAX South:
  • January 17–19, 2020
  • PAX Dev:
  • August 27–28, 2019
Next eventPAX West:
August 30–September 2, 2024
Other PAX(s)
  • PAX Aus:
  • October 11–13, 2024
  • PAX Unplugged:
  • December 6–8, 2024
  • PAX East:
  • May 8–11, 2025
Organized byPenny Arcade

PAX (originally known as Penny Arcade Expo) is a series of gaming culture festivals involving tabletop, arcade, and video gaming. PAX is held annually in Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, and Melbourne. Previously, it was also held in San Antonio.

PAX was created in 2004 by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the authors of the Penny Arcade webcomic, because they wanted to attend a show exclusively for gaming.[1] The shows include a keynote speech from an industry insider, game-culture inspired concerts, panels on game topics, exhibitor booths from both independent and major game developers and publishers, a LAN party multiplayer, tabletop gaming tournaments, and video game freeplay areas.



The first Penny Arcade Expo was held on August 28–29, 2004 (2004-08-28 – 2004-08-29) at the Meydenbauer Center, and was attended by about 3,300 people. Renamed to PAX, the event became an annual event. Attendance grew rapidly, topping 9,000 in 2005 and 19,000 in 2006.

By 2007, the event had outgrown the Meydenbauer Center, and moved to the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, where it drew some 39,000 in 2007,[2] 58,500 in 2008, 60,750 in 2009, and 70,000 in 2011. The show stopped reporting attendance numbers in 2011, citing difficulties in tracking attendance in a multi-day event.[3]

In 2009, Penny Arcade partnered with ReedPOP.[4][better source needed]

PAX Prime 2013, the first four-day PAX, was held on August 30 – September 2, 2013 (2013-08-30 – 2013-09-02), with passes selling out in six hours.

Expansion to more cities


In 2010, the first PAX East was held at the Hynes Convention Center on March 26–28, 2010 (2010-03-26 – 2010-03-28), drawing 52,290 attendees. The first PAX Prime drew 67,600 attendees in 2010. PAX East moved to Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in 2011; a 2012 agreement cemented Boston as the home of PAX East until 2023.[5]

The first international event was PAX Australia, first held July 19–21, 2013 (2013-07-19 – 2013-07-21) at the Melbourne Showgrounds. The following year, it moved to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, where it remains.[6]

The first PAX South was held in San Antonio, Texas, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on January 23–25, 2015. It set a PAX record for highest attendance for an inaugural year.[7] But the event saw little growth in later years, and was cancelled in October 2021.[8]

Specialty events


From 2011 until 2020, Penny Arcade held PAX Dev, an annual event meant to allow the game developer community to "speak freely and focus entirely on their trade".[9] Unlike other game-developer events like GDC, PAX Dev did not allow press. 750 people attended in 2011.

At PAX South 2017, Penny Arcade and ReedPop announced that a new event type, PAX Unplugged, would be held on November 17–19, 2017, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The event focused on tabletop games, a type that was only incidental in other PAXes.[10]

Name of PAX in Seattle


PAX was originally known as the "Penny Arcade Expo", but quickly became known by its acronym "PAX". Seattle's PAX was renamed PAX Prime in 2010 and PAX West in 2015.[11]



PAX consists of the following activities:[12]

  • Freeplay, further broken into: Console, Classic Console, Handheld, PC, VR, and Tabletop.
  • Tournaments, further broken into: Console and Tabletop. Some PAXes feature additional tournaments hosted by vendors.
  • "Bring Your Own Computer" or BYOC, a LAN Party.
  • Panels, talks, signings, and similar events.
  • Concerts.
  • PAX Arena, an eSports tournament.
  • The Omegathon.
  • An Exhibition Hall, which includes game studios, merchandise, and the Indie Megabooth.

The Omegathon


Each PAX features an event called the "Omegathon", a festival-long tournament consisting of a group of randomly selected attendees competing in a game bracket for a grand prize (which has varied from a large game bundle, to a trip to Japan, to a trip to any PAX in the world). The final round of the Omegathon makes up part of the closing ceremonies of PAX. Past games for the final round of the Omegathon have included Tetris, Pong, Halo 3, and skee-ball.



Early PAXes were largely run by a large group of volunteers, which the show calls "Enforcers". Now a paid role, most Enforcers are still not professional conference organizers or temps, but rather selected from an application available to attendees on the PAX website.[13]



Active PAX Events


Former PAX Events


Timeline of PAX Events

PAX Prime
PAX West
PAX East
PAX South
PAX Unplugged
PAX Online
Timeline of PAX Events 2004 - 2024

See also



  1. ^ "PAX East History". PAX East. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016.
  2. ^ Magrino, Tom (August 29, 2009). "PAX 2010 descends on Boston". Gamespot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on November 24, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
  3. ^ Ellis, Tim (May 13, 2015). "How Penny Arcade manages PAX ticket sales – and why your crazy idea to fix them won't work". Geekwire. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Venables, Michael. "How Pax Became The Biggest, Greatest Fellowship Of Gamers, Geeks And Civility in the World". Forbes. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  5. ^ Herald Staff (February 15, 2012). "PAX East commits to Boston for 10 more years". Boston Herald. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  6. ^ "PAX Australia on Twitter". Twitter. March 8, 2022. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  7. ^ PAX South Attendance Breaks Records. IGN. January 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Megan (October 30, 2021). "PAX South gaming convention in San Antonio canceled for 'foreseeable future'". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  9. ^ "PAX Dev FAQs". dev.paxsite.com. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  10. ^ "PAX Unplugged - Philadelphia, PA Nov. 17 - 19, 2017". unplugged.paxsite.com. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Khoo, Robert (November 18, 2015). "@skelevader b/c if i make an announcement people will read too much into it. Besides, press releases are lame. PAX WEST FOR LIFE". Twitter. Archived from the original on February 26, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  12. ^ "PAX West 2017 Guidebook". Guidebook. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  13. ^ "Enforcers - PAX West". PAX. Archived from the original on July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2019.