PAX Events to Feature ‘Diversity Lounges’ in 2014

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.

Source: Gamasutra

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  1. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    This is a horrendous idea.  The only reason there was ever a problem was because people got too uptight over a joke in the first place.  NOBODY at Penny Arcade, and (to the best of my knowledge, at least) nobody at any PAX event has ever done anything untoward to someone based on their "diversity" that wasn't explicitly handled on the spot by security.

    Appeasing the butthurt never got anything good.

  2. 0
    Degraine says:

    Well, I know what area I'll be avoiding at the next PAX AUS. Yes, really. 'Diversity' has no place here; I went to PAX because it offered a chance to meet with other people and celebrate what we have in common, rather than what sets us apart, and that's exactly what I got.

    Don't lecture me about treating people who are different than me with kid gloves because of…whatever. Don't project your issues onto me because I'm white, or male, or heterosexual, or English-speaking, or part of any other arbitrary grouping of people that is larger than another grouping. My conscience is clear.

    Of course, I'm not going to have a hissy fit and declare PAX RUINED FOREVER because I think they've made a mistake either. That would be rather self-defeating. See you in November.

  3. 0
    Rishkith says:

    Mark my words "Nothing good can come from this". They should just focus on games and being a place for everyone and stay out of identity politics. Once you get into identity politics then there is nothing you can do that won't offend large swaths of people.

  4. 0
    GiffTor says:

    I'm sure you've been watching Twitter over this, but this is just incredibly tone-deaf. Hey, you "diverse" people! Go over there, behind the stanchions. You'll be safe and you can listen to discussions about your diversity. We've even sound-proofed it so you don't hear Mike making offensive jokes from the main sound stage. 

    The people who need learning-up [sic] on this aren't the ones the "Diversity Lounges" are for. They're everyone else. Diversity, acceptance, bigotry, hostile environments: these are central themes of the gaming community to discuss at a gaming convention, not peripheral ones. There's a reason the Fat, Ugly or Slutty panel at PAX was standing room only 2 years ago. 

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