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PAX 2021 tentative schedule announced, may adjust based on COVID-19

The show may go on next year, as PAX sets its schedule for 2021... assuming the COVID-19 pandemic has blown over.

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It feels very premature to even think about live events in any capacity, especially in the world of gaming. But the team at PAX is ready to get right back on the horse in 2021. On Friday morning, PAX announced the key dates for PAX East and PAX West, which will look to get the fun going again starting in June.

The following was posted to the PAX website:

We’d like to take this opportunity to announce our prospective show dates for the 2021 calendar, and before we do, we want to be completely clear about why we’re announcing them now, and how the global COVID-19 situation impacts our plans in the coming year.

We’re announcing our dates now to help partners plan for the upcoming year on how they might attend as well as provide a chance to start conversations about how to bring attendees, panelists, exhibitors, and our broader community together with these events that are 7 months away. Safety is always our highest priority, and we want to put these shows on for you and in a way that still feels like a PAX, but these things require runway. Our rationale: with things being this complicated, why not tell everyone all at once?

Let’s just say the quiet part out loud: if COVID-19 remains a major barrier to safely gathering at one of our shows, we won’t do it or we will take it virtual. As much as we miss, even crave, the togetherness and magic of a PAX, we will not put attendees, exhibitors, or our guests at risk for the sake of an event if things aren’t on the up and up.

Now, on to the good news! If things progress positively then there’s a good chance that we would be able to put on live events in the summer and later half of the year.

In that optimistic scenario our new event calendar for 2021 will be:

PAX East will take place June 3 - 6, 2021
PAX West will take place September 3 - 6, 2021
PAX Aus will have more info coming soon
PAX Unplugged will take place December 10 - 12, 2021

Unfortunately, because of what would have been the prospective timeline in early next year we won’t be able to put together a PAX South in 2021, but we look forward to bringing it back for you in 2022. We are also working with our team in Australia and the Australian government and will have more updates on PAX Aus’s 2021 show date in the next few weeks.

Expect badges, panel announcements, exhibitor updates, and the like to arrive in the new year, generally closer to the respective shows - and you can always follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more regular updates.

As noted in this statement, all of this is very much subject to change, especially given that not only is the COVID-19 pandemic still going, it's actually gotten significantly worse here in the United States in recent weeks. Everything will depend on how the next six months go, though there is a potential for hope given that there's now talk of a vaccine going out in early 2021. Even if that does happen, though, the landscape will vary heavily on how many people choose to vaccinate. There's still a good chance this goes virtual, just as PAX West 2020 did earlier this year.

The other thing to think about is that PAX East's date is awfully close to the usual timing for E3. Any 2021 plans for E3 are unknown following this year's cancellation, but if E3 decides to go on as normal, it'll likely happen just days after PAX East, meaning game publishers and developers may have to prepare for a cross-country trip to make everything work.

This is a big story and one that will unfold in the months ahead. Shacknews will monitor these proceedings and report back with any changes.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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