PAX East has been officially canceled this morning, with Penny Arcade announcing that PAX Online will happen instead. However, the company that runs the conventions is still looking towards hosting PAX in person this year, starting with West in September.
PAX East's organizers, Reed Pop and Penny Arcade, cite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the reason why this year's East convention has been canceled, though they are "cautiously optimistic" that PAX West and the tabletop-focused PAX Unplugged will go ahead in-person later this year.
"In light of ongoing public health concerns, ReedPop and Penny Arcade will not hold PAX East this year. Given the United States’ progress towards addressing COVID-19 in recent months, we are cautiously optimistic PAX West and PAX Unplugged will proceed as planned with in-person festivities Sept. 3-6 and Dec. 10-12, respectively."
In light of ongoing public health concerns, ReedPop and Penny Arcade will not hold PAX East this year. Given the US' progress towards addressing COVID-19 in recent months, we're cautiously optimistic West & Unplugged will proceed in-person festivities Sept 3-6 and Dec 10-12.— PAX (@pax) March 29, 2021
The organizer's say that while they had hoped to see PAX East return, they remained "realistic" and did not sell tickets or booth space just in case. PAX East took place in person last year before many of the COVID-19 lockdowns occured across the United States, though Unplugged and West were canceled as the year and the pandemic deepened in 2020.
"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."
Regardless of whether PAX West or Unplugged takes place, people can look forward to the return of PAX Online, which replaced West last year. PAX Online is currently schedueled to take place on July 15 through the 18th. PAX's Indie Showcase will also be returning, with a tweet from the official Twitter stating it will take place on April 10th.
Check out the full statement on the PAX East website here.