PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) is a series of gaming festivals held in Seattle (West, formerly known as Prime), Boston (East), Melbourne (Australia), and San Antonio (South). It was created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the authors of the Penny Arcade webcomic, because they wanted an event that was exclusive to gaming and made for gamers.

PAX West

The first PAX was in August 2004. It was a two day event held in a suburb of Seattle with about 4,500 attendees. PAX attendance doubled each year after that until it reached the current 70,000 attendees and is limited only by available venue space in Seattle.

PAX East

In 2010 the first PAX East was held in Boston with over 52,000 attendees. The original PAX in Seattle was renamed PAX Prime to help distinguish between the two events. PAX East currently sees between 60,000 and 70,000 attendees.

PAX Aus

In July 2013 the first international PAX was held; PAX Australia in Melbourne.

PAX South

In January 2015 the first PAX South in San Antonio was held. PAX South broke all previous first time PAX attendance records. Later PAX Prime was renamed again to PAX West.

How Do the Different PAX Events Compare?
  • San Antonio in January
  • Tickets typically available for weeks after release, all three days don’t sell out until that weekend
  • Newest and smallest PAX event, but still a full featured PAX
  • Crowds feel more intimate and less overwhelming to many
  • Culture is more laid back, less rushed
  • Fewer big exhibitors – No significant Xbox or PlayStation presence, few AAA games and studios
  • More indie game developers, PAX’s Indie Showcase focuses on tabletop
  • Attendee numbers are growing and a recent expansion of its convention center gives it a lot more room to continue growing
  • Limited public transit, but lots of sidewalks/crosswalks
  • San Antonio has great January weather, but a high tree pollen count and poor drainage if it rains
  • Convention center is along Riverwalk, a beautiful settings with lots of nearby food and drink options
  • City mostly shuts down after midnight
  • Boston in March/April
  • Tickets sell out within days, Saturday within hours
  • Arguably the best convention center among PAX venues, large, but fairly easy to get around and free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Attendance estimates are between 60,000 – 70,000 over the weekend
  • Large crowds draw in the AAA video game industry
  • Nearby hotel space and food options are lacking
  • Public transit system, but nearest subway station is a 15 minute walk
  • Boston March/April weather varies from cool 50s to snow storm
  • Convention center is near Boston waterfront, adding to the weather variations but keeping it close to the financial heart of the city
  • Seattle over Labor Day weekend
  • Tickets sell out within days, Saturday within hours
  • Convention space is across multiple buildings, most difficult PAX to navigate
  • Public transit system available, best for getting to and from airport
  • Attendance estimates are between ~70,000 over the weekend
  • Large crowds draw in the AAA video game industry
  • PAX Dev, which happens just before PAX West, also brings in game industry heavy weights who stick around
  • Convention center is in the middle of Seattle, with limits on nearby hotels and food options