Penny Arcade Expo: Immerse Yourself in Gaming at PAX Events

Last updated: 12/31/2023
5 minutes read

Are you a fan of arcade games? How about PC hits and tabletop games? If so, you can’t afford to miss the next PAX convention.

To find out when the next PAX events are happening, what PAX stands for and why these expos have become so popular with gamers around the world, scroll down and get the lowdown on Penny Arcade events.

Location and Dates: Where and When Are PAX Conventions?

Is PAX every year? Yes, there is at least one PAX convention every year. The dates for each expo are released throughout the year, but events typically take place in April, September, October, and December. PAX East kicks off the annual schedule and PAX Unplugged brings the year to a close.

Will PAX East happen in 2022? Yes! The Penny Arcade Expo schedule contains a confirmed listing for PAX East. Based on the information published so far, this is how gamers can get their expo fix in 2022:

  • PAX East: 21-24 April 2022, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
  • PAX West: Dates TBA in Seattle
  • PAX AUS: Dates TBA in Melbourne
  • PAX Unplugged: Dates TBA in Philadelphia

What Exactly is PAX?

PAX stands for Penny Arcade Expo. The original PAX convention took place in 2004. It was created by the authors of the webcomic Penny Arcade, Jerry Holkins, and Mike Krahulik. Holkins and Krahulik wanted to create a show specifically for gaming and, with their first love being penny arcade and tabletop games, PAX was born.

The popularity of PAX has increased over the years and, in line with demand for tickets, the convention has evolved. From the original PAX, which attracted 3,300 attendees, it grew from a single-day expo to a four-day event.

The first four-day expo was dubbed PAX Prime and attracted over 70,000 visitors in 2013. Also, part of this initial growth phase was a partnership with ReedPop. The events company has helped turn Penny Arcade’s one-time event into an annual series of expos.

Before PAX Prime, the organizers had already started experimenting with expos outside of the original host city, Seattle. In 2010, PAX East took place in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center. With over 67,000 attendees, PAX East quickly became a rival to PAX Prime.

By 2012, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center had become the home of PAX East, which was now a staple of Penny Arcade’s calendar of events.

The Evolution of PAX

Between 2013 and 2015, PAX Australia and PAX South were added to the schedule. The inaugural PAX AUS took place in 2013 at the Melbourne Showgrounds before it moved to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center.

Ubisoft at PAX

Back in the US, the first PAX South took place in San Antonio and became the biggest inaugural Penny Arcade event in history. Unfortunately, despite the initial popularity of PAX South, it was discontinued in 2021 because of waning interest.

Adding to the PAX schedule of events in 2017 was Unplugged. This expo focused on one specific feature of the Penny Arcade universe, tabletop games. This genre had been a bit-part player in previous PAX conventions.

However, a surge of interest in tabletop games allowed a spinoff event to be made. PAX Unplugged might not be as popular as Pax East and Pax West, but is an integral part of the annual line-up.

Each PAX event has its own nuances but, overall, they all have the same fundamental structure. The only notable change in recent years is the renaming of PAX Prime to PAX West. So, that’s just about all you need to know about the history of PAX.

Looking forward, PAX 2022 is on the horizon. So, with this in mind, here are the details you need to know…


Registration: How to Attend Penny Arcade Expos

All Penny Arcade Expo events are ticket-only. That means you need to register online and buy badges. These badges can get you access to specific days. Alternatively, you can get badges that give you access to the expo for four days.

Most conventions require a badge or a pass in order to get in

Unlike some gaming expos, Penny Arcade and ReedPop have kept the entrance fee to an affordable level. For PAX East 2022, the price for single and multi-day badges was:

  • Single Day PAX East Badge = $62
  • Four-Day PAX East Badge = $235

What’s On at PAX Conventions?

Every PAX convention is a celebration of arcade games and tabletop games. There are interactive elements where attendees can play games of survival, new releases, arcade hits, and more.

There are expert panels covering a variety of topics, including the development of hit games, new technology and more.

Put simply, PAX is an all-encompassing experience that covers everything the gaming world offers. For those looking to attend at Penny Arcade Expo, here are the things you can see and do:

  • The Expo Hall is where you can find previews of new games, technology, and content from AAA publishers, indie developers, and the biggest names in the industry.
  • Meet and greets with popular figures from the world of gaming.
  • Merchandise from developers, tech companies, and other brands that make gaming great.
  • Console free-play area where you can enjoy thousands of gaming hits for free.
  • Expert panels and keynote speeches about new developers, meta in gaming, hot topics, and popular debates within the industry.
  • LAN Parties where you can connect your own PC/Laptop to a local network and compete with your fellow PAX attendees.
  • PAX Arena featuring pro eSports tournaments.
  • PAX Rising Showcase is a part of the expo where budding developers can show off their products.
  • Community meetups are a chance for gamers to chat, relax, party, and have fun.
  • The Handheld Lounge gives attendees somewhere to relax while playing a variety of Android and iOS games.
  • Pinny Arcade is a place where attendees can view and trade gaming-themed pins.

That’s just a taste of what happens at PAX East, PAX West, PAX AUS, and PAX Unplugged. If you’re a fan of gaming, these expos are a great way to immerse yourself in everything the industry has to offer.