It appears that Gen Con and PAX are working on the assumption that the current "State of the Pandemic" will be under control by the summer of 2021. That being said, they are still hedging their bets and leaving the door open to closing their doors if Covid fails to cooperate with their hopeful plans.
It takes a lot of time - and money - to put together a convention, and the larger the convention, the more lead time one needs, and these are huge conventions.
My fear is if certain conventions are cancelled two years in a row, there may be a lack of funds to bring them back later, although that may be more of an issue for the relatively smaller conventions.
From the Gen Con website:
Holiday 2020 Message and Looking Ahead to 2021
As we approach the winter holidays and the end of the (let’s say less-than-ideal) year, we’re looking ahead to the future and know you have some of the same questions that we do about our plans for 2021.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is certain, and that our lives are even more interconnected than ever before. We don’t take for granted the magic of gathering en masse with all of you in Indianapolis each summer, and we can’t wait to do it again. Will that happen this August? In all honesty, we don’t know yet, but we really hope so.
Our goal for the new year is to hold Gen Con 2021 as planned, in person in Indianapolis from August 5-8. We’re working towards that objective with health and safety as our top priority. A variety of factors need to come together for a physical convention to be feasible, and we’re carefully monitoring local and national safety and travel guidelines, health data, resource availability, and the advice of our finest sages, scientists, and sorcerers.
Considering this uncertainty, we’re postponing badge registration and event submission until we have a better idea of what the year will hold. We’ll announce new dates as soon we can, and you should expect more updates from us in the next couple of months. To keep up on the latest news, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.
We appreciate your continued support, and we miss you, our Gen Con family all across the world. Please take care of each other and have a safe and happy holiday season!
Your Friends at Gen Con
And from the PAX East website:
DECEMBER 4TH, 2020
PAX 2021 Dates
Hello PAX Universe,
We’d like to take this opportunity to announce our prospective show dates for the 2021 calendar, and before we do, we want to be completely clear about why we’re announcing them now, and how the global COVID-19 situation impacts our plans in the coming year.
We’re announcing our dates now to help partners plan for the upcoming year on how they might attend as well as provide a chance to start conversations about how to bring attendees, panelists, exhibitors, and our broader community together with these events that are 7 months away. Safety is always our highest priority, and we want to put these shows on for you and in a way that still feels like a PAX, but these things require runway. Our rationale: with things being this complicated, why not tell everyone all at once?
Let’s just say the quiet part out loud: if COVID-19 remains a major barrier to safely gathering at one of our shows, we won’t do it or we will take it virtual. As much as we miss, even crave, the togetherness and magic of a PAX, we will not put attendees, exhibitors, or our guests at risk for the sake of an event if things aren’t on the up and up.
Now, on to the good news! If things progress positively then there’s a good chance that we would be able to put on live events in the summer and later half of the year.
In that optimistic scenario our new event calendar for 2021 will be:
PAX East will take place June 3 - 6, 2021
PAX West will take place September 3 - 6, 2021
PAX Aus will have more info coming soon
PAX Unplugged will take place December 10 - 12, 2021
Unfortunately, because of what would have been the prospective timeline in early next year we won’t be able to put together a PAX South in 2021, but we look forward to bringing it back for you in 2022. We are also working with our team in Australia and the Australian government and will have more updates on PAX Aus’s 2021 show date in the next few weeks.
Expect badges, panel announcements, exhibitor updates, and the like to arrive in the new year, generally closer to the respective shows - and you can always follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more regular updates.
Whatever form PAX East, West, and Unplugged take in 2021, please know that we are dedicated to bringing you all the community, content, and competition we’ve become known for, while continuing to create space for new, up-and-coming, and marginalized voices in gaming. “Welcome Home” isn’t just a slogan to us; we make our home every year in Boston, Seattle, Melbourne, San Antonio, and Philly - and it’s our job to make sure that we make that home safe.