Seattle be warned: An ardently devout throng of gamers have been given their marching orders. Penny Arcade Expo organizers today announced that the 2009 all-things-gaming gala will descend upon the Washington State Trade and Convention Center from September 4-6.
Preregistration for PAX 2009 is currently available through the event's official Web site. Three-day passes bought in advance will run $50 this year, a 10 percent savings over badges bought at the door. Those who preregister will also have a chance to participate in PAX's signature Omegathon gaming competition. This year, the top Omeganaut will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Tokyo Game Show, among other prizes.
While trade conventions like the Electronic Entertainment Expo and Leipzig Games Convention have struggled to find their voice in recent years, the Penny Arcade Expo has done nothing but thrive. The brainchild of webcomic cocreators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, PAX has continued to draw ever-increasing crowds to its annual events. In 2008, the show attracted more than 58,500 attendees, up from 39,000 attendees in 2007.
This year, however, show organizers emphasized that space will be limited. "We've rented every square foot in the center and it still won't be enough," said PAX representative Robert Khoo. "The facility has requested that we not exceed capacity, so we're going to be closely monitoring the number of badges we sell this year." To help alleviate the crush of demand, Holkins and Krahulik revealed last year that Boston would play home to a second PAX beginning in spring 2010.
Exhibitors and events have not yet been announced for PAX 2009, though show runners expect to have more information in the coming weeks. Last year, more than 70 exhibitors--including top gaming publishers such as Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft--held court at the event. PAX 2008 also featured a keynote address from BioShock creator Ken Levine.