EB Expo and PAX Australia are becoming one mega-show this year. The news comes from an official media release on the PAX Australia website. It appears that PAX Australia, which is traditionally held over three days, is absorbing EB Expo, creating a dedicated EB section within the larger PAX convention. According to Gamespot, over 180 companies have confirmed their attendance, with “thousands” of games available for play. PAX Australia has steadily grown in the past five years, with EB Expo’s addition being a huge indication of this. PAX Australia is returning to Melbourne on October 26-28 as part of Creative Victoria’s Melbourne International Games Week.
What does this mean for PAX?
With the acquisition of EB Expo, this year’s PAX Australia will be huge. PAX traditionally offers attendees community activities, like eSports tournaments, developer panels, concerts, competitive arenas, cosplay competitions and pin trading. Community favourite games, like Smash Bros. Melee for players to interact with one another, fill the free play lounges. The show will feature a console, PC, handheld, VR and tabletop show floor as well as an indie developer showcase. EB Expo on the other-hand is more of a commercial convention, with hands-on demos and their gigantic pop-up store. The games that are available for play are less about gamers strengthening the community but rather getting their hands on the latest games.
While both are great conventions, combining the two makes sense. Players can both immerse themselves within community-based gaming lounges to socialise, or the show floor to preview upcoming games. Collectors can both trade pins and exclusive items, or browse the huge pop-up store for rare Funko figures and limited editions. For more updates and the current list of features, visit the official PAX website.
What does this mean for Australian Gaming Conventions?
While it is unclear if this is a permanent move for EB Expo, holding the convention in Melbourne is probably for the best. As disappointing as it is that Sydney and the Gold Coast lost EB Expo, combining conventions means more international notoriety. Having one mega-convention means more developers and bigger publishers will make the overseas trip. Considering PAX takes place in Melbourne’s International Games Week, it’s the best opportunity for international companies to showcase their games.
Furthermore, the city of Melbourne has committed itself to artistic media more than any other city. While this is PAX’s fifth year in Melbourne, the city is also a cultural hub for art and music. Corroborating Australia’s biggest artistic conventions, and their attendees, will strengthen the community driven focus of an event like PAX. Hopefully this is just the first big step in not only putting Australian gaming conventions on the map within Australia, but also the Australian gaming community on the map internationally.
PAX Aus event manager Jono Whyman said, “PAX Aus grows every year, and in 2018, EB Expo is the red mushroom to our Italian plumber.” While there is no information about registration and how this will impact ticketing, stay tuned to Gamers Classified for the latest updates.