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PAX West Shifts From Physical Conference to Online

The annual video gaming festival will instead stream gameplay, events and discussions for nine days

Pax West, the annual gaming festival, will only be held online this year, event organizer Penny Arcade Inc announced on Tuesday. The event will be rebranded PAX Online.

“While we still had hoped to bring you PAX West this year, protecting the safety and health of our community is our highest priority,” Penny Arcade said in a statement. “The more we worked on a solution, the more it became clear that if we really wanted to welcome everybody home, we’d have to remove the physical barriers entirely, and simply take PAX Online.”

The conference will now be streaming content for 24 hours a day September 12 through 20. “Going digital means a lot more than just a change in venue though, and by transcending the physical, in fact, we’re able to do more PAX than ever before,” the event organizers said.

The gaming trade and culture conference is held annually in cities around the world, including Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Melbourne. PAX West was set to take place in Seattle this year.

PAX Online will be free and open to anyone with internet access. There will be three channels broadcasting “literally nonstop content” each day of the conference, including virtual esports tournaments, digital panels, and concerts. Fans can also buy merchandise, download and demo games that would usually be on display on the physical show floor online.

Penny Arcade said the conference is working to create a “host of different ways to interact with the greater PAX community,” including chat rooms and forums to find groups to game with.

To be part of the conference’s live-stream panels and its Indie Showcase for game developers, attendees can fill out a panel submission form. Penny Arcade said it will open these events to participants closer to the conference date.

“We’re so excited to share our new version of PAX with you. The last time PAX was a 24-hour show was… well, actually, it was the first one ever, almost 16 years ago! History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes,” Penny Arcade said in its statement. “We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’re hoping that while everyone’s living on the internet, we can maybe help it feel a little more like home.”