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Video game conventions are happening again

PAX West, in September, is the first big post-COVID show

a shot of the convention center for PAX East Image: ReedPop
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Convention host ReedPop announced Tuesday that PAX West will return in September — the first major gaming event to be held in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic put large, group gatherings on hold last year. The convention will be held in Seattle on Sept. 3-6 at the Washington State Convention Center.

Tickers for the event will be on sale over the next two weeks, ReedPop said.

PAX East, held Feb. 27-March 1 in Boston, was the last major gaming event to be held in the United States ahead of the pandemic, though some companies didn’t attend because of the emerging virus. PAX East went forward, with organizers promising “enhanced cleaning and sanitization.” Two later PAX events, PAX West and PAX Australia — were canceled, and PAX joined with EGX for an online-only event in mid-September.

ReedPop said “detailed health and safety guidelines” for PAX West will be released before the September event. It’s also got new information regarding PAX Online East 2021, the online-only event scheduled for July 15-18. Badges for both events are available online now — with four-day passes for PAX West 2021 priced at $230. Badges for PAX Online East are optional at $15, but they do give attendees access to special events.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution began ramping up in early 2021, and “approximately one half of U.S. adults” have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts say fully vaccinated individuals have a low risk for COVID-19 and can safely return to many activities and domestic travel. But large and small gatherings — indoor or outdoor — remain less safe for unmasked, unvaccinated people.

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