PAX organizing body Reed Exhibitions has offered an official statement on yesterday's mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. The shooting, which occurred at a Madden Championship Series qualifying tournament, resulted in three dead (including the shooter) and nine others injured from gunshot wounds.
In particular, the statement addresses concerns regarding event security at PAX West, which will take place this week from Friday through Monday in Seattle, Washington.
The statement is as follows:
"First and foremost, our hearts go out to all of those impacted by the horrific, senseless act of violence in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday. The entire gaming community is affected by this tragedy.
"The safety of our attendees, exhibitors, and staff is paramount to ReedPOP and Penny Arcade. As PAX has grown in popularity, we have responded with the addition of increased private security, law enforcement, and other personnel, each of whom are on-site at all times during our events.
"As a rule, we do not publicly announce or discuss the details of our security program in order to maintain its effectiveness, however, we work closely with the Washington State Convention Center, private security, the Seattle Police Department and federal law enforcement authorities to identify risks, assess them and develop our comprehensive security protocols for PAX West. We have in place extensive proactive measures; some that are visible during PAX events and many that are not. We are always working to improve our security plans and, if need be, adjust them, to ensure that we are doing all that we can to make PAX West, and all PAX events, a safe and secure environment for the community.
"Across the fifteen years of PAX events we have provided a safe and welcoming environment for more than a million attendees to come together for their love of gaming and we are ensuring that we adhere to that tradition at PAX West 2018."
The issue of security at gaming events was also addressed by EVO head Joey Cueller when he tweeted yesterday on the matter, saying "While Evo does not comment on security procedures (for obvious reasons), it's very clear that we need to be more proactive for 2019 and beyond. The amount of undercover law enforcement at Evo was unprecedented, and we will be installing metal detectors for ALL days next year."
The ESA has also issued a statement on the shooting: "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred in Jacksonville, Florida. As a community of gamers, we are united and wish to express our condolences and extend our support to the individuals and families impacted by this senseless act."
Though the ESA did not specify whether any of its protocols surrounding E3 would be addressed in 2019, the event did increase security from 2017 to 2018 by prohibiting consumers from bringing in backpacks and larger bags, implementing bag searches for industry and media, and metal detectors for everyone.
[UPDATE]: In response to an inquiry about security changes in the works for next year's E3, an ESA representative provided the following comment: "E3 attendee safety is a paramount concern for ESA. We regularly consult with leading security and law enforcement experts to implement protocols wherever necessary, including, among other measures, deploying metal detectors, uniformed personnel, and bag searches. We will continue to review these and other measures to help ensure the safety of all E3 exhibitors, staff, and fans."
Disclosure: PAX organizer ReedPOP is the parent company of GamesIndustry.biz.