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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

Hype: Pax East becomes PAX Online July 15th to July 18th

ReedPop has officially announced that North East video game convention PAX East has officially been canceled, but taking its place will be PAX Online, the second-ever online-only PAX event. The announcement comes in the wake of the ongoing global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes from ReedPop with support from Kyle Prahl, Carter Dotson, and Josh Silverman of online PR firm Stride PR. The firm delivered a press release, accompanied by an official statement from PAX Event Director Kyle Marsden-ish. PAX East was slated to return to Boston for this coming Summer, citing government officials' progress in addressing the health concerns brought upon by COVID-19. Regrettably, despite the best efforts of local, state, and government officials, the event is deemed unsafe for attendees and staff. Instead of a live event, ReedPop will host another PAX Online, an online digital event spanning four days in July, from Thursday, July 15th to Sunday, July 18th. Details for PAX Online are limited, but it is expected to be very similar to the last PAX Online, which took place in 2020 from September 12th to September 21st following PAX West's cancellation in Seattle, Washington.

"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." Kyle Marsen-ish says in his statement," 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."

The news of PAX East being canceled while defeating is expected, especially when the grand scope of COVI-19 is taken into account. Live PAX events are mammoth crossroads in the world of gaming, with video communities from across the world gathering together for 4 long but entertaining days in the world of video games. From attendees to industry person, people from as far away as Poland and Japan attend each event every year. As COVID-19 is a global pandemic, the impact of the virus varies from country to country. Given the current landscape as of this post, hosting a large live event filled with thousands of people poses immeasurable health risks. For anyone that has attended PAX East, social distancing is impossible, even with masks, and seasoned pax attendees will give you their accounts of tight spaces, rubbing shoulders, and long lines to use the restroom. Additionally, the United States has only just begun its mass vaccination program, as it was confirmed that the previous presidential administration had no plan for vaccine distribution. Based upon new data, new COVID-19 strains, loosening state restrictions, and dropping mask mandates, it does not look likely that international gaming conventions, such as PAX, will be in-person for quite some time, perhaps not until 2023. While PAX West and PAX Unplugged are still scheduled for 2021, the data is increasingly suggesting that these events cannot happen. However, for Australian gamers, Pax Australia will undoubtedly return, but with exceptionally limited capacity, tight restrictions, and an extremely steep cost for those that can afford to go.

However, there is hope. PAX Online was a unique online event that brought the PAX vibe and feelings to homes worldwide, including timed, free demos of new and upcoming games, tournaments, and a strong networking function that allowed attendees and press to interact, no matter where they were. Additionally, the event was completely free for all. Furthermore, smaller, more local conventions are increasingly looking likely, such as TooManyGames in Oaks, Pa, with more manageable crowds and the expectation that the attending crowd will be vaccinated. Outdoor events are safely opening up, and indoor dining is returning in some spots. The feeling and energy of PAX and other big conventions is sorely missed, but with some persistence, mask-wearing, and the willingness to get vaccinated, the light at the end of the tunnel can only grow brighter from here.

PAX Online will be hosted online across Discord, Twitch, and other platforms from July 15th, 2021, to July 18th, 2021.

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