Penny Arcade Expo events will in future include a space called the Roll for Diversity Hub and Lounge, designed as “a resource for PAX Attendees to find information related to issues surrounding women, LGBTQ, people of colour, disabled people, and mental health issues in gaming”.
The new space will feature at PAX Prime in Seattle, PAX East in Boston, and PAX Australia in Melbourne, and was outed by leaked documents published on IndieStatik.
According to the documents, the space is intended to achieve four things: provide a place to find out about diversity-related happenings at PAX events; educate attendees on diversity within the games industry; provide education and training on diversity issues such as maintaining inclusive spaces; and highlight diversity-related business in and around the geek community.
Penny Arcade later confirmed the news with Kotaku.
“Our goal was to highlight diverse groups (and organizations that represent diverse groups) in the industry that might not necessarily get exposure otherwise”, Penny Arcade’s Robert Khoo said.
“We have a limited number of slots, and the booths are free. In addition, since all of our content is spread out at the show rather than ‘tracked’, the hub will also be a resource for people to find the diverse sessions, events, and exhibitors.”
The decision to highlight diversity in gaming culture may be at least partially motivated by a series of complaints levelled at to Penny Arcade, PAX and creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins on a wide range of subjects. Some potential attendees, including developers like The Fullbright Company, have withdrawn their support for PAX as a result of ongoing tensions.
PAX Prime is held at the end of August, PAX East takes place in early April. PAX Australia launched last year in July, but will be held in late October in 2014.