Penny Arcade and ReedPop announced today that PAX East 2021, originally scheduled for June 3 through June 6, has been cancelled. In its place, PAX Online returns this year from July 15 through July 18. 

The reason behind the cancellation of PAX East stems from ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the speed of the vaccination rollout, there’s cautious optimism in place in regards to a return to in-person events with PAX West and PAX Unplugged later this year. 

PAX East 2021 Becomes PAX Online Due to COVID Concerns

 
Gamers hoping to attend PAX East in Boston will have to wait until 2022 as Penny Arcade and ReedPop confirmed today that PAX East 2021 will not take place as originally intended.

Instead, they’re bringing back PAX Online and are pushing the dates from June to July, with PAX Online set to take place from July 15 through July 18. 

In their official statement, ReedPop and Penny Arcade express cautious optimism about the possibility of holding in-person PAX events later this year with PAX West in September and PAX Unplugged in December. 

“In light of ongoing public health concerns, ReedPop and Penny Arcade will not hold PAX East this year. Given the United States’ progress towards addressing COVID-19 in recent months, we are cautiously optimistic PAX West and PAX Unplugged will proceed as planned with in-person festivities Sept. 3-6 and Dec. 10-12, respectively.

Since we can't wait until September to reconnect with the wonderful PAX community, PAX Online will return July 15-18. We hope to build on the success of last year’s record-breaking event and also engage with our community in new ways, such as the Indie Showcase that will take place between now and PAX Online. Expect to hear more about these exciting plans soon.

While we hoped PAX East could safely take place, we remained realistic and did not sell any tickets or space to exhibitors to avoid significantly inconveniencing our friends and partners.

As we have shown via our actions throughout the pandemic, our utmost concern is the safety of the PAX family — from attendees, exhibitors, and show staff to media and content creators — as well as the local communities that host our celebrations of all things gaming.

We will only move forward with a live PAX once we are confident the show will be safe for everyone. ReedPop and Penny Arcade will continue to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19, observe government guidelines and local laws, and defer to health officials and experts on what is deemed safe.

We are grateful for the efforts everyone made to make PAX East happen in 2021, and we look forward to returning to Boston in 2022.”

PAX isn’t alone in hoping for a return to in-person events later this year as San Diego Comic-Con recently announced dates for an in-person event in November as well. However, SDCC has since received backlash due to the dates coinciding with the Thanksgiving holidays. 

It’s unclear whether SDCC will revise their plans and move the dates around to better accommodate people, or if they’ll end up cancelling the event outright in favor of a regular SDCC event during Summer 2022. 

It’s also unclear what the situation with COVID-19 will look like come September, November, or even December of this year. No matter what happens later this year, Penny Arcade and ReedPop have made it clear that the health and safety of PAX attendees are of the utmost importance

If it’s not safe to hold an in-person PAX West and/or PAX Unplugged, we imagine we’ll hear a statement after PAX Online concludes on July 18 about further event cancellations and dates for 2022.

In the meantime, the good news is that PAX Online is returning July 15 - July 18. As more information about PAX Online comes out including what the event will include and how to participate, we’ll be sure to update you here at Prima Games.

Until then, what are your thoughts about Penny Arcade and ReedPop cancelling PAX East in favor of PAX Online in July? Do you think we could see in-person PAX West or PAX Unplugged events this year, or would it be better to write them off and try again in 2022? Let us know on our social media channels including Facebook and Twitter.

Related: San Diego Comic-Con Cancels In-Person SDCC, Eyes Smaller November Event