PAX West 2020 Insists it is Still Happening Despite Pandemic Concerns, the Internet Responds

2020 has effectively been canceled, at least from the perspective of physical events and gatherings, and there’s no clear end in sight. While most events have canceled or shifted to digital for the remainder of the year, the organizers behind PAX West 2020 insist that the Labor Day event is still happening this September. Penny Arcade released an irresponsibly optimistic statement on the PAX West site, along with a PR blast sent out to press, to stress that despite the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, PAX West will still be taking place in Seattle, Washington from September 4th – 7th.

Here’s the full statement:

Hey there! We hope you’re staying safe and healthy in these uncertain times.

We tend to be pretty quiet this time of year, but since we’ve had some questions from fans and exhibitors we wanted to let everyone know that as of this moment, we’re still planning on putting together a great PAX West this coming Labor Day Weekend (September 4th – 7th) for you, and we will be updating our website with more information on badges and hotel registration in the coming months.

Our first priority is always your safety, and that extends to issues of public health. As the year progresses, we will continue to monitor the situation and work with health officials at all levels of government, and intend to follow all CDC and WHO guidelines as they are released. That said, actions already taken by our convention center and local government have left us optimistic, and we will continue working with them to make sure we take the correct steps throughout the summer.

We look forward to welcoming you home as we always have, but until then – may you give Tom Nook a run for his money, and may Sephiroth stand defeated in your wake.

The outlook for PAX West 2020 seems ridiculously optimistic given the unknowns that still exist surrounding COVID-19. Just last week, gamescom—one of the largest gaming events in the world—canceled its late August physical event due to Germany limiting large gatherings through the end of the summer. Microsoft has said that all of its events for the rest of the year will be digital, and Sony canceled its appearance at the Brazil Game Show in October.

The consensus from games industry figures at this point is that PAX West 2020 will not actually be happening. It’s possible this insistence on moving forward is business-based, trying to force the cancellation to be at the behest of the city or state in order to retain whatever cancellation insurance policies the organizers have set up for the event (which often stipulate that coverage will only be maintained if the cancellation is outside of the organizer’s control).

Regardless, stressing that the event will be moving forward when it would be irresponsible to hold is blatantly misleading to potential exhibitors and attendees who need to budget and plan, along with a blatant disregard for the health and safety of participants regardless of promises otherwise.

[Source: PAX]

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