PAX (event)

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PAX new logo, blue.svg
Status Active
Genre Gaming (video game, tabletop, CCG, role-playing)
Venue Washington State Convention Center and Paramount Theatre and Benaroya Hall (PAX West, PAX Dev)
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (PAX East)
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (PAX Australia)
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (PAX South)
Pennsylvania Convention Center (PAXUnplugged)

Seattle, Washington (PAX West, PAX Dev)
Boston, Massachusetts (PAX East)
Melbourne, Victoria (PAX Australia)
San Antonio, Texas (PAX South)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PAXUnplugged)
Country United States (PAX West, PAX Dev, PAX East, PAX South, PAXUnplugged)
Australia (PAX Australia)
Inaugurated August 28, 2004; 13 years ago (2004-08-28) (as Penny Arcade Expo) (PAX West)
March 26, 2010 (2010-03-26) (PAX East)
August 26, 2011 (2011-08-26) (PAX Dev)
July 19, 2013 (2013-07-19) (PAX Australia)
January 23, 2015 (2015-01-23) (PAX South)
November 17, 2017 (2017-11-17) (PAXUnplugged)
Most recent PAX East 2018, Boston, Massachusetts

70,000+ (2011, PAX Prime)

80,000+ (2017, PAX East)
Organized by Penny Arcade, Reed Exhibitions

PAX (originally known as Penny Arcade Expo) is an overall term used to refer to a series of gaming culture festivals that involve; tabletop gaming, arcade gaming, and video gaming. PAX festival events are held annually in Seattle, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; and Melbourne, Australia. PAX was originally created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the authors of the Penny Arcade webcomic, because they wanted to attend a show exclusively for gaming.[1]

PAX was first held in 2004. Defining characteristics of the festivals include an opening 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. Every PAX also features the Omegathon, a festival-long tournament consisting of a group of randomly selected attendees competing for a grand prize. 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.


Crowds filling the Meydenbauer Center at PAX 2006

The first PAX, known at the time as the Penny Arcade Expo, was held on August 28–29, 2004, in Bellevue, Washington, at the Meydenbauer Center, and was attended by approximately 3,300 people. The event was then held annually in August, at the same venue, for the next two years. Attendance grew rapidly, with over 9,000 attendees in 2005, and over 19,000 in 2006.

Actor Wil Wheaton signs autographs at PAX 2009

By 2007, the event had outgrown its previous venue, and moved to the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, which was twice the size. Attendance in 2007 was counted at 39,000.[2] In 2008, attendance grew to 58,500, and in 2009, it grew to 60,750.

In 2010, PAX held its first event on the East Coast. PAX East 2010 was held in Boston, from March 26–28, at the Hynes Convention Center. Attendance levels rivaled those of PAX 2009; PAX East 2010 was attended by 52,290. From then on, the original Washington festival was referred to as PAX Prime in order to avoid confusion between the two. PAX Prime 2010 was attended by 67,600 people, and involved off-site events for the first time.

PAX Prime 2011 was attended by over 70,000 people. For the two days prior to PAX Prime, an event called PAX Dev was held; it was exclusive to the game developer community, no press were permitted, and it was attended by 750 people. This supplemental event was created as a forum where "developers [could] speak freely and focus entirely on their trade".[3] The same year, the second annual PAX East was held in March 2011, at a new venue, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The expo hall at PAX East 2012

PAX East 2012 was held April 6–8, and PAX Prime 2012 was held from August 31 to September 2, on Labor Day weekend.

Members of Rooster Teeth host a panel at PAX Prime 2013

PAX East 2013 took place March 22–24. 2013 also marked the first year that a PAX event was held outside of the United States; PAX Australia 2013 was held July 19–21, 2013 at the Melbourne Showgrounds. PAX Prime 2013 was the first four-day PAX and took place from August 30 to September 2, 2013. Passes for PAX Prime 2013 sold out within six hours.

An agreement reached in early 2012 has extended Boston as the home of PAX East until 2023.[4]

Cosplayers pose for a photo at PAX South 2015.

PAX Australia 2014 was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 31 to November 2, 2014, where it was confirmed that the exhibition will remain in Melbourne until 2019.[5] 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.[6]

PAX East 2015 was held on March 6–8 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. PAX Prime 2015 was held at the Washington State Convention Center on August 28–31. PAX Australia 2015 was held on Melbourne Cup weekend, on October 30 to November 1 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

On November 18, 2015, it was silently confirmed that PAX Prime was being renamed to PAX West.[7]

PAX South 2016 was held on January 29–31 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. PAX East 2016 was held on April 22–24 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. PAX West 2016 (formerly PAX Prime) was held on September 2–5 at the Washington State Convention Center. PAX Australia 2016 was held on November 4–6 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

PAX South 2017 was held on January 27–29 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. During this time, it was announced that Penny Arcade would be hosting another event known as PAXUnplugged. Designed as a tabletop-exclusive convention, it took place November 17–19, 2017 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in Philadelphia.[8] PAX East was held on March 10–12 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. PAX West 2017 was held on September 1–4, 2017 at the Washington State Convention Center. PAX Dev 2017 was held on August 29–30, 2017. PAX Aus 2017 was held on October 27-29, 2017 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

PAX South 2018 was held on January 12-14, 2018. PAX East 2018 was held on April 5-8, 2018. 2018 was the first year PAX East spanned 4 days, similar to PAX West. Unlike West, it ran from a Thursday to a Sunday, as opposed to a Friday to a Monday.


  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 September 7, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  3. ^ "PAX Dev FAQs". Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ Herald Staff (February 15, 2012). "PAX East commits to Boston for 10 more years". Boston Herald. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ "PAX Australia on Twitter". Twitter. October 27, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  6. ^ PAX South Attendance Breaks Records. IGN. January 25, 2015.
  7. ^ Khoo, Robert (November 18, 2015). "Robert Khoo on Twitter: "@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. 
  8. ^ "PAX Unplugged - Philadelphia, PA Nov. 17 - 19, 2017". Retrieved March 14, 2017. 

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