As gaming continues to be on the rise, it should be no surprise that gaming conventions continue to get bigger and bigger on both the West and the East coasts. In the prime gaming convention age, it can be challenging to keep track of all the gaming and eSports action out there. Luckily, Gamercraft has you covered! Here are the seven biggest US eSports and gaming conventions in 2019!
1. Dreamhack Gaming Convention
What started as a small gathering in the basement of a quiet Swedish home, has since grown into a company worth millions of dollars. Dreamhack fills gaming convention halls across the globe. Expo locations for 2019 include Leipzig, Germany, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Dallas, US, Valencia, Spain, Montreal, Canada, Rotterdam, Netherlands, Atlanta, US, and Seville, Spain. The company is also recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest LAN party and computer festival with the most generated internet traffic at a single event worldwide. Prominent games at this event include Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, Smash Bros, Starcraft, and many more. Passes start at 35 USD per day and vary based on location and currency of the host country.
2. PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) Gaming Convention
This festival has something for everyone with features such as tabletop, arcade, and video games. The gaming convention is held annually in Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, San Antonio, TX, Seattle, WA, and Melbourne Australia. First held in 2004, the event has come a long way in the past decade with a total of 80 thousand attendees in 2017. The expo features keynote industry speakers and several esports tournaments. Featured games include League of Legends, Smash Bros, Dungeons and Dragons, and more. Tickets start at 10 USD per day and can go up to hundreds based on tiers and availability. Ticket prices vary based on location and currency of the host country.
3. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) Gaming Convention
This year marked the 25thannual E3 Expo, located in Los Angeles, CA. For the past several decades this convention was notoriously closed to the public with only industry officials being allowed access. This all changed in 2017 when the public was invited to attend for the first time, 15,000 passes sold out for the public event. Two years after its public opening, E3 attendance is still climbing. Major showcases include Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, and more. Tickets start at $149 USD for a 3-day pass. For more info on E3 be sure to check out our article here.
4. Blizzcon Gaming Convention
If you hadn’t guessed by the name, this annual gaming convention is held by Blizzard Entertainment and features all things Blizzard oriented. Games include some of the company’s most prominent titles such as Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch and more. Located in Anaheim, CA, over 40 thousand people attended the convention last year. In addition to several panels and tournaments, Blizzcon’s closing ceremony is notorious for celebrity musician performances. Past performers included Blink182, Foo Fighters, Metallica, and more. Passes start at $229 USD and go up to $750 USD (with this option including a charity dinner and VIP meet and greet with Blizzard employees).
5. Tokyo Game Show (TGS) Convention
While all 7 of the biggest esports and gaming conventions on this list have high attendance, this convention beats them all, with TGS hosting a total of 268 thousand attendees in 2015! That’s over a quarter of a million game lovers all in one place! Located in Chiba, Japan, the convention has certainly come a long way since its beginnings back in 1996. The conventions primary focus is Japanese games however, many companies still attend. Last year’s lineup featured the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and more. The convention lasts a total of 4 days with the first two being open only to industry officials.
6. TwitchCon Esports Convention
If you’ve used the popular streaming platform in the past, you’re most likely familiar with this one! Traditionally located in San Diego, CA this year marked the first time that Twitch Con looked to expand its outreach. In addition to its home base esports convention, Twitch also put on a gaming convention in Berlin, Germany. This is also the “youngest” gaming convention on our list, with the first Twitch Con taking place in 2015. In the past 4 years, the convention has grown massively with over 50 thousand attendees in 2017. Twitch isn’t shy when it comes to sporting big names. Past keynote speakers included David Hasselhoff, Tony Hawk, and Ninja. Passes start at $99 USD for one day and reach as high as $199 USD for 3 days. Prices vary based on location and currency of host country.
7. Gen Con
As an Indianapolis, IN native, I had to rep my home town with this selection! However, I did have a pretty good reason. Gen Con is the largest tabletop game convention in North America with over 60 thousand attendees in 2016. Established in 1968 by Gary Gyax, this convention has been around for a long time! Also, if that name doesn’t ring a bell, I’ll remind you that after forming the convention, Gary Gyax later went on to co-create Dungeons and Dragons. D&D also went on to arguably become one of the most well-known tabletop games in the world. 4-day badges for this event start at $110 USD and vary depending on the desired package and purchase date.
Regardless of size, conventions across the world remain an amazing place for gamers of all skill levels to get together with like-minded individuals. So, did the 7 biggest eSports and gaming conventions surprise you? Did your favorite convention make the cut?
Last Update on 08/06/19: Added new elements including new convention details by Quentin Rosso4