PAX-branded conventions expanding to China and elsewhere

The skyline of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in China.
VCG/Stringer/Getty Images

The Penny Arcade Expo is continuing its international expansion, but not under the existing PAX name. Instead, Penny Arcade and ReedPOP — the firm behind pop culture conventions like PAX, New York Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration — are heading to China with GC Play, the first-ever “Powered by PAX” event, the companies announced today.

GC Play Powered by PAX will run from Nov. 10-12 at the Poly World Trade Center in Guangzhou, China. All events under the Powered by PAX banner will be overseen by the same teams that run the existing PAX conventions in North America and Australia. Those groups will work with organizations on the ground to ensure that each Powered by PAX event is suited to its local culture.

PAX originated in the Seattle area in 2004, and it has been held there every year since; that convention is now known as PAX West. Today, there are four consumer-focused PAX events every year — PAX East in Boston; PAX West in Seattle; PAX South in San Antonio, Texas; and PAX Australia in Melbourne — and the organizers are introducing a fifth, the tabletop gaming show PAX Unplugged, this fall in Philadelphia. There’s also a separate event called PAX Dev that is limited to game developers.

PAX-branded conventions expanding to China and elsewhere Penny Arcade/ReedPOP

“The Powered by PAX brand will bring the culture, content, and community of PAX to new shows internationally,” said Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg, global PAX content director, in a news release.

GC Play is being run by ReedPOP and Guangdong Grandhub Culture Development. With a population north of 13 million, Guangzhou is the third-largest city in China, and is a major commercial hub in the country. Gaming, in particular, is huge in Guangzhou and in the overall province of Guangdong.

“The games industry revenue in Guangdong accounts for 73.4% of the national total, and 17.5% of the global total,” said Lu Xiaokun, president of the Guangdong Entertainment & Game Industry Association and chair of Guangdong Grandhub Culture Development. “We believe in the gamer-centric idea of PAX.”

The introduction of the Powered by PAX program could give hope to gaming fans around the globe who have been clamoring for PAX to come to their country. In particular, it seems odd that there’s never been a PAX convention in the U.K. or elsewhere in Europe, a market that delivers almost as much revenue to the game industry as North America.

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