For the second year in a row, the Penny Arcade Expo Australia (PAX Aus) was held in Melbourne from 31 October 2014 to 2 November 2014. It opened to the news that Melbourne had secured the right to continue to host the event for the next five years, a huge coup for Victoria and for all Australian digital gaming fans. The announcement meant that Melbourne would host the iconic event, which attracts the world’s biggest and most influential digital games developers, publishers, and enthusiastic players, until at least 2019.
The success of PAX Aus 2013 contributed to an even bigger PAX Aus the second time round. Selling out months in advance, PAX Aus 2014 saw tens of thousands of gamers, developers,and more descend on the event, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition (MCEC). The larger venue allowed for shorter queues and gave attendees more time and space to visit the more than 150 international and Australian exhibitors. Tables stretched from wall-to-wall in the Exhibition Hall, with a wide variety of game exhibitions, posters, gaming zones and more.
Microsoft had the largest stall, which allowed fans to experience and play the newest games in their Xbox One stand, while Nintendo revealed its new 3DS/XL gaming platform to eager fans. Displays from international brands such as Intel, Logitech, Ubisoft, Alienware and Razer lined the walls and floors with their huge visual and audio presentations. There were also stages with musicians and gaming competitions such as the hugely popular Omegathon and League of Legends, the latter of which saw the Oceanic Regional Final take place, congratulations to the winner @AvantGaming! In all, PAX Aus was a digital delight, a feast for the gaming senses!
Ben Britten, Technical Director for Tin Man Games said, “PAX Australia was amazing again this year and it was great to see how many more indies were showing in the indie pavilion. The high quality and talent of the Australian indies was really apparent this year.”
The inaugural Australian STEM Video Challenge awards ceremony was also held at PAX Aus 2014. The challenge encouraged students to design and build an educational video that included science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content or themes, as a way to increase engagement with STEM subjects by students in Australia. You can find all of the winners and their videos at the STEM Games website.
PAX Aus 2014 coincided with Victoria’s inaugural Digital Games Week, which was established as a direct result of PAX Aus 2013. The week celebrates the State’s games industry and included a broad range of events promoting Victoria’s games ecosystem for business and customers. Victoria accounts for 40 per cent of Australia’s digital games industry and is home to 75 game development studios, animation houses and games industry service providers, from leading global companies through to smaller boutique developers.
The State Government of Victoria has also contributed more than A$4 million in investment and marketing support to the digital games industry. The continued expansion of games conferences such as Game Connect: Asia Pacific and PAX Aus in Melbourne is confirmation of the city’s burgeoning reputation as a gaming and technology hub.
With the dates for PAX Aus 2015 now confirmed for 30 October – 1 November 2015, it’s time to get your countdown clocks started. I look forward to seeing even more of you there next year and in the meantime keep following this blog for more Melbourne gaming news, views and videos!