While E3 may get the lion's share of attention from the PC and console game industry every year, the Los Angeles-based trade show only brings in about 45,000 people. The biggest game events in the US in terms of attendees are the two Penny Arcade Expos. This past weekend was the annual PAX Prime event in Seattle, Washington. This week the show's business operations head Robert Khoo told Neowin that the show had approximately 70,000 attendees. That would make it the largest PAX event ever held. PAX Prime 2011 sold out of its tickets three months before it was held.
The first PAX event was held in Bellevue, Washington in 2004 and organized by the team behind the popular Penny Arcade web comic strip. The inaugural show brought in 3,300 people. Since then the show has grown massively both in attendees as well as in game industry participation, and in 2007 the show moved to a bigger convention space in Seattle. This year's PAX Prime had exhibitors and panels from a large number of major game publishers along with smaller publishers and independent game developers. For the first time this year, PAX Prime was preceded by another event called PAX Dev. This was a small game developers conference attended by only a few hundred people from the industry. The general public and the media were not allowed to attend.
In 2010, PAX organizers launched PAX East in Boston to give people on the east coast of the US a chance to attend a show closer to home. The event has already become a huge success with 69,500 attendees recorded for the 2011 event that was held in March. The next PAX East event will be held again in Boston on April 6-8. Meanwhile Joystiq reports that PAX organizers already have plans to launch a third Penny Arcade Expo event but would not comment on where it will be located.