Penny Arcade (PAX) started in 2004 in Bellevue, Washington born of a desire by webcomic authors Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik to hold a show exclusively for gaming.

Today PAX events are held annually in Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Antonio in the United States; and Melbourne in Australia.

The PAX West Labor Day weekend conference featured an exhibit hall, presentations, rock & roll performances, a tournament, and collectible pin trading.

There was also a curated indie developer area where indie titles were selected by PAX organizers based on their evaluation that the games have something special to offer.

PAX’s defining characteristic among most other large video gaming conferences is that it is completely fan focused and additionally caters to companies and fans of tabletop games. It has become known as an event where, by design, smaller companies can get exposure without being totally overshadowed by large developers and publishers.

PAX used to release attendance figures but stopped doing this in 2011 because of their unique pass transferability rules. Essentially there is a tolerated and supported scalper market and one can buy a pass, go to the expo, exit and then sell their pass to another person if they just wanted a few hours there. There is even an authentication service where the scalpers congregate. Because of this situation the actual attendance is higher than the initial ticket sales. I have estimated the historical attendance of the conference series taking this phenomenon into account in the chart above and the numbers may be conservative.

Core gamers, a subset of the mass market, embrace the community of gaming. These events cater to this community and give small and innovative companies with smaller budgets a chance to be in the spotlight.

Editor’s Note

The ETFMG Video Game Tech ETF (NYSE: GAMR), is a globally diversified, liquid, exchange traded fund for investors who are looking to participate in the growth of the video gaming theme.  GAMR was first ETF and continues to be the largest ETF by AUM, to provide investment exposure to this forward-looking theme.


Carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses before investing. This and other information can be found in the Fund’s summary or statutory prospectuses available on Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Shares of any ETF are bought and sold at market price (not NAV), may trade at a discount or premium to NAV and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns. Narrowly focused investments typically exhibit higher volatility. Video Game Tech Companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel, may have products that face rapid obsolescence, and are heavily dependent on the protection of patent and intellectual property rights. Video Game Tech Companies are also subject to increasing regulatory constraints, particularly with respect to cybersecurity and privacy. Such factors may adversely affect the profitability and value of such companies. Investments in foreign securities involve political, economic issues and currency risks, greater volatility and differences in accounting methods. The Fund is non-diversified, meaning it may concentrate its assets in fewer individual holdings than a diversified fund. Investments in smaller companies tend to have limited liquidity and greater price volatility than large capitalization companies. The Fund’s return may not match or achieve a high degree of correlation with the return of the EEFund Video Game Tech Index. To the extent the Fund utilizes a sampling approach, it may experience tracking error to a greater extent than if the Fund had sought to replicate the Index. Diversification does not guarantee a profit, nor does it protect against a loss in a declining market.

The EEFund Video Game Tech™ Index provides a benchmark for investors interested in tracking companies actively involved in the electronic gaming industry including the entertainment, education and simulation segments. The Index uses a market capitalization weighted allocation across the pure play and non-pure play sectors and a set weight for the conglomerate sector as well as an equal weighted allocation methodology for all components within each sector allocation. The index was created and is maintained by EEFund Management. You cannot invest directly in an index.

ETF Managers Group LLC is the investment adviser to the Fund.

The Fund is distributed by ETFMG Financial LLC. ETF Managers Group LLC and ETFMG Financial LLC are wholly owned subsidiaries of Exchange Traded Managers Group LLC (collectively, “ETFMG”). ETFMG Financial LLC is not affiliated with EEFund Management.

Author Portrait
Ted Pollak is the Founder and President of EE Fund Management LLC. Mr. Pollak also created EEndex (the world’s first video game industry equity index) and the EE Fund Video Game Tech Index (an ETF optimized video game industry equity index). Additionally, Pollak is a Senior Gaming Industry Analyst for Jon Peddie Research, a Tiburon California based market research and consulting firm and is an Entertainment Technology Expert for the Gerson Lehrman Group Council.