news The organisers of the popular Penny Arcade Expo (‘PAX’) event have announced that the popular show will be held in Melbourne in July 2013 and 2014, in an event which will mark the first international version of the expo founded by the creators of the video gaming comic.
Penny Arcade is a popular and long-running webcomic founded in 1998 by Americans Jerry Holkins (‘Tycho’) and Mike Krahulik (‘Gabe’). It has since grown to become one of the biggest video game media outlets and event organisers online, with the Penny Arcade group launching companion websites and events in the US, including its Child’s Play charity series.
The company has long been publicly planning a Penny Arcade Expo event in Australia, and this morning the group’s president Robert Khoo teamed up with Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher to announce that Penny Arcade Expo Australia would be held in Melbourne in 2013 and 2014. The inaugural PAX Australia will be held at the Melbourne Showgrounds from 19-21 July, 2013 and will be run by popular culture events company ReedPOP in conjunction with Penny Arcade. Registrations for the 2013 event have opened online.
Asher said PAX was the world’s premier games festival and the decision to choose Melbourne will be a fantastic opportunity to highlight Victoria’s creative capabilities on a global scale.
“This is the first time the event has been held outside the United States and attracting PAX Australia to Melbourne was a major coup for Victoria,” Asher said. “It is a great opportunity to showcase games culture in Australia to the rest of the world, and the exposure around the region and the world that Melbourne’s games industry will gain from the event, and the number of international and domestic visitors that will be drawn to Melbourne, cannot be underestimated.”
Khoo said the demands of the global community dictated the expansion to Australia. “When we reached out to our international fans, the response from the Australian community for a local PAX was overwhelming,” Khoo said. “Melbourne has a long history of supporting the games scene, through showcasing cultural game exhibits to supporting world renowned game developers. Holding PAX Australia in Melbourne is the perfect fit for our show.”
The group said: “PAX is the largest consumer games event in North America, first held in Seattle in 2004 and nearly doubling in size each successive year and expanding to a second show in Boston in 2010. A festival celebrating games culture, it connects the world’s leading game publishers with their most avid fans while providing an inclusive community environment.”
“PAX Australia will combine the exciting program from the international shows with local content and community events. International guests, speakers, musicians and developers will join local game industry representatives to showcase games and community events in Australia.”
It’s great news for Melbourne indeed that PAX will be coming to the Victorian capital in 2013 and 2014, although as a Sydney resident, one does wonder why Penny Arcade wouldn’t shift the conference north for one of those two years. I guess Sydney does most major conferences, though so fair’s fair ;)
As an avid video gamer myself, I’ll be looking for two major things from this conference (the complete schedule hasn’t been announced yet). Firstly, I’ll be looking for Penny Arcade to bring some of the gaming community’s international figures (perhaps Cliffy B, now that he’s got a lot more free time on his hands, or some of Korea’s top StarCraft II champions for a show match or two?) Down Under for some face time with the fans. And secondly, I’ll be looking for Penny Arcade to focus on Australian developers, highlighting their best work and so on. With a number of Australian studios having gone out of business or been acquired recently, this may be a bit tough. But I’m confident there’s still enough great work being done out there that it can be featured strongly at PAX Australia.
In any case, I expect the event to be highly popular — I’m already seeing on Twitter that a lot of people have expressed interest in registering, without the schedule having been published yet. This should be a big one.
Image credit: Penny Arcade Expo Australia Facebook page