PAX South comes to an end 'for the foreseeable future'

The San Antonio-based expo will be no more with PAX citing COVID-19 and a lack of expansion, among other factors.


Among the gaming events that take place throughout the calendar year, two of the most high-profile ones are PAX West and PAX East. Notice that PAX South, annually held in San Antonio, TX, is not on that list. The third of the domestic PAX expos is usually an uneventful show and it looks like the folks behind PAX have come to realize this themselves. On Friday, the PAX team announced that PAX South would be no more.

Here's the full announcement from the PAX South website:

When the first PAX was held in 2004, we expected at most a hundred locals to show up. Never in our wildest dreams did we anticipate more than 3,000 passionate fans to arrive, or for our one-time event to turn into a series held in five cities around the world.

While each of our other events have flourished, some of them drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees from around the world, PAX South hasn't expanded and to some extent has remained the same show that it was when we opened it in 2015.

Faced with that reality, and compounded by the impact of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to bring PAX South to an end for the foreseeable future.

The heart of PAX South lives on in the incredible memories we made in our Texas community and with the international fans and Enforcers who came out to support the show. We’re sorry to all our friends who were looking forward to the show's return in 2022 - we join them in that - but we hope to see you again at our other events as PAX returns. You will forever be part of our family and the legacy of PAX. We learned a great deal from you, and future shows will be better for it.

Thank you, San Antonio, for always embodying the PAX spirit by welcoming home gamers and the people who make the things we love.

- The PAX Team

PAX has been recovering gradually from the COVID-19 pandemic, holding PAX East as "PAX Online" back in July and PAX West back in September. PAX Australia was recently postponed and pushed into an unknown 2022 date.

On top of the reasons stated by the PAX staff, it should also be noted that PAX West had some drama earlier this year regarding proof of vaccination requirements. The Seattle convention originally did not require attendees to show proof of vaccination before doing an about face just days later. With PAX South taking place in the increasingly volatile state of Texas, it's just as likely that the PAX staff did not want to take on a fresh batch of headaches stemming from this issue.

Whether PAX South is gone for good or will return in a new form remains to be seen. For now, the only PAX shows in the United States will be the ones in Boston and Seattle, though a third PAX dedicated to tabletop gaming called PAX Unplugged is currently slated for December. We'll keep an eye on this story and offer any updates as they come in.

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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From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 29, 2021 4:05 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, PAX South comes to an end 'for the foreseeable future'

    • reply
      October 29, 2021 4:13 PM

      It is ironic that they start their statement mentioning that original expectation of a hundred locals at the very first PAX, then announce they’re shutting down PAX South because it is exactly that.

      Why does every PAX have to be a mega spectacle? It just seems to me that less fanfare means more time for games.

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        October 29, 2021 4:22 PM

        If a bunch of people in the south are hyped for PAX based on what they’ve seen about West and East and then arrive at a show with massively less stuff to do they’re probably just going to be disappointed.

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          October 29, 2021 4:42 PM

          The schedule is not a surprise that’s sprung on them, they see it weeks in advance, and while it’s true that for some the spectacle may be what they come to watch, it wasn’t how PAX started before it blew up as it did.

          All I’m saying is PAX started with a simple and frankly wholesome concept, and it says a lot that this is no longer the criteria they use for organizing these events.

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            October 29, 2021 4:52 PM

            I mean there are going to be people at PAX who weren't even born when the first events were being held so I don't think they care too much about its roots per se. They just want a good event and at this point PAX implies a certain level of scale from AAAs to indies to panels and gaming spaces. If they can't meet that scale in certain locations then it's not shocking they'd pull back. You can look at reviews of PAX West this year where it was massively pared down and missing all the usual big players. It didn't seem to go over well.

            They just overexpanded. There's only so much appetite for these kinds of events each year (from consumers and from exhibitors). You obviously couldn't effectively hold a convention this scale every month but PAX discovered you could do it more than once a year. The lack of growth from PAX South isn't some wholesome reality, it's indicative of a relative lack of demand compared to their other events. If you were hosting 3 yearly events and every year 2 of them had more and more people wanting in and the 3rd never attracted many new people what would your reaction be? That the 3rd one is still a cool, quiet event like from before anyone cared about your events or indicative that you're failing to provide what people want?

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              October 29, 2021 5:00 PM

              You make fair points, and comparing yours to mine I can see I’m being pretty idealistic.

              It would indeed have to be something else, deliberately defined as something not at the scale of PAX, something that wasn’t organized with corporate interests first. Not many folks are in a position like PA is to be and do that.

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                October 29, 2021 5:27 PM

                yeah I mean I wish PAX was more like the old days myself but mainly in the form of not being shoulder to shoulder with everyone all the time and waiting in line 2 hours for every little thing (and getting to see stuff like Diablo 3 years early). In theory they could alleviate that by having more events with fewer people at each one like PAX South (but then lower profits) but I'm sure the exhibitors are not super interested in doing all those events. Like you're having to do a bunch of real dev work to make a demo build, plus all the organizing for a booth, for one convention and then 4 months later make another one? Or just show the same one? Meanwhile you've still gotta figure out which of E3, Gamescon, TGS, etc to go to. Maybe just focus more on indies? But the things people really line up for are the AAA stuff and the panels which is where you need the big guys to show up.

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      October 29, 2021 4:24 PM

      That is devastating news!! One of my favorite events to go to every year. We hardly got shit else to go to for major events in Texas. San Antonio was a great place to visit too while attending the convention. Damn, end of an era.

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      October 29, 2021 5:49 PM

      I went to one PAX in Seattle with some friends and it was wall to wall lines to get in and see anything. All I remember is people sitting on the floor for three hours to get a good seat to see a trailer

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        October 30, 2021 10:00 AM

        Sounds like EGX in the UK the last time I went too. I only really go to catch up with industry pals and poke some arcades and pinball machines that are usually there.

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      October 30, 2021 9:52 AM

      Texas doesn’t deserve it. Sorry Texas, get your shit together!

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