Just in case you were meaning to fly down to Boston this year for PAX East 2021, there's still time for you to change your plans and refund your flight tickets.
With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of ending anytime soon, ReedPop and Penny Arcade have officially canceled PAX East 2021. Instead, like last year, the companies will host PAX Online and keep the festivities going while ensuring all interested attendants safe inside their respective homes.
PAX Goes Online This Summer 2021
In light of ongoing public health concerns, ReedPop and Penny Arcade will not hold PAX East this year. Given the US' progress towards addressing COVID-19 in recent months, we're cautiously optimistic West & Unplugged will proceed in-person festivities Sept 3-6 and Dec 10-12.
— PAX (@pax) March 29, 2021
ReedPop Pax Event Director Kyle Marsen-Kish broke out the unfortunate news earlier today. He cited "ongoing public health concerns" as the key reason why they've decided against hosting PAX East 2021 as an in-person event. However, Marsden-Kish did add that they are "cautiously optimistic PAX West and PAX Unplugged will proceed as planned with in-person festivities."
PAX West and PAX Unplugged are both scheduled for September 3 to 6 and December 10 to 12, respectively, later this year.
For now, fans can at least look forward to PAX Online 2021, and hopefully this completely online convention goes better this time around. Previously, the week-long PAX East 2020 was met with lukewarm reactions as the companies obviously were learning on the ropes, or so to speak. But, now, PAX Online 2021 looks to be better, starting with a more standard length as a four-day event.
Unfortunately, outside of the event length, we have no idea just how the proceedings will transpire this year for PAX Online 2021. However, we can expect it to be more engaging this time around. A good example of this is the Indie Showcase, which the press released teased as will take place before PAX Online. This suggests that the companies will be hosting a slew of online events in the lead-up to PAX Online 2021.
With that said, going fully online with PAX Online 2021 seems to be the right move. It would have been far more costly for the organizers to promise an in-person gaming convention only to cancel at the last minute. Today, there remains a stigma of gathering large groups of people. This is despite more and more vaccines being rolled out to help combat the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hopefully, after PAX Online 2021, fans can congregate in Boston once again for PAX East 2022 if not earlier.
Yet Another Company Goes The Online Route
Speaking of online conventions, more and more companies are starting to announce their plans to go fully digital.
For example, Gamescom recently announced that they plan on holding a hybrid event this August. The said event will reportedly have both physical and digital components. Meanwhile, while not fully confirmed, E3 is thinking of making E3 2021 fully online, instead of canceling it just like last year.
Whereas other companies are new online-only showcases and/or events, Valve seems perfectly comfortable in this setting. As a matter of fact, they plan on taking on the planned E3 2021 online event with their very own games showcase. The newly-rebranded Steam Next Fest in June will compete directly with E3 2021.