2013 was a challenging year for the organizers of the Penny Arcade Expo, mostly due to comments made by its founders that offended many in the community. To try and bring some goodwill back to those injured parties, PAX organizers plan on creating a special area at its events that promote "diversity."
The Penny Arcade Expo plans to introduce a special area at future expos, that (they hope) will serve as safe environments for diversity, according to documents uncovered by IndieStatik. The documents detail a space "where people can come to find out about all the different diversity related things happening in and around PAX." These "Diversity Hubs and Lounges" will help visitors understand diversity in the games industry, and serve as a "safe place" for attendees to meet up. These special areas will also feature developer meet and greets and product promotions.
"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 told Kotaku. "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."
Many believe that the idea for Diversity Hubs and Lounges is a bit of an olive branch following a series of statements by Penny Arcade founders related to the whole "dickwolves" controversy, and public comments from convention organizers about transgendered people.
While having areas at PAX events that highlight diversity is a good first step, finding ways to make the entire event a safe place for everyone is probably a better long-term goal. More diversity ultimately means more attendees from all walks of life.