Next to playing an actual game, attending a gaming convention or conference is usually high on the list for any dedicated gamer - beginners and experts alike. Playing video and computer games can often be an isolating experience, even if one is playing a co-op or team-based game.
So the idea of getting to not only see and feel first-hand the latest and upcoming games from developers, but also being physically in the same location as one’s peers is an enticing thought.
Luckily, there are enough of them available to choose from. Here are just 4 of the top gaming conventions that you can attend in 2019.
What is E3?
E3 is probably the biggest name in gaming conventions. The event that nearly every gamer (and many non-gamers) know about, it’s considered to be North America’s largest gaming news exposition of the year. Organized and presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), E3 is the world’s top event for computer and video games.
The event features developers, publishers, and hardware/accessory manufacturers who introduce upcoming games and gaming-related merchandise to retailers and the press. It connects tens of thousands of people from more than 100 countries including industry executives and analysts, partners, other gamers, leading companies, and social influencers.
And it offers unparalleled exposure to the video game and interactive entertainment industry, introducing innovative technologies
and newly unveiled products.
When E3 began more than two decades ago in 1995, it was an industry-only event in which ESA mandated that attendees verify their professional connections to the video game industry.
Starting in 2017, however, it opened up to the public when it issued 15,000 general admittance passes. In 2018, it featured more than 69,200 attendees, 200-plus exhibitors including 85 companies who were first-timers, and 3,250 products .
When is E3?
E3 will be held June 11 through 13, 2019 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC).
The E3 schedule for 2019 is not yet available.
Gamer: There are two tiers of gamer tickets. E3 has gamer passes available for the first 1,000 tickets at $149 each. These apparently sell out very fast and are first come, first served. A gamer pass is good for all three days of E3. The next gamer badge tier is $100 more at $249 each.
Premium: The premium badge is $995, which gets you the following amenities:
- Three-day expo pass with exclusive and early access hours on Tuesday and Wednesday
- Access to the VIP Lounge, with access to business and concierge services, a place to meet with colleagues, and daily networking receptions
- Dedicated service for E3 hotel reservations with access to the best available hotel selections
- Catered breakfast and lunch daily
- Exclusive industry CEO and VIP reception
- Access to the exhibit hall via a dedicated VIP entrance
- Premium seating at the E3 coliseum panels
- Access to LA Live activations
- Discounts for premium badge holders at the official E3 merchandise store
Industry: There is also an industry badge, which is available up until April 25, 2019. This is complimentary and you need to be a member of the interactive entertainment industry in order to qualify for it.
To apply, submit two of the credentials listed below. At least one document must contain both your name and your company’s name:
- Insurance card listing both employee name and company name
- Paycheck stub verifying current full-time employment within the industry
- Company credit card listing both employee name and company name
- W-2 Form with both employee name and company name
- Current business license indicating the type of business
- Current Retail Sales Tax License with the company name
- Current Resale Tax Certificate with the company name
- Invoices within the last 6 months that show purchases of products related to the industry
- Current Federal resale tax certificate (VAT)
- Current IGDA Membership Card
For the first time in the history of E3, Sony and the PlayStation brand will not have a presence at E3 2019. Other E3 2019 announcements are not yet available.
What is BlizzCon?
BlizzCon, which was first held in October 2005, is the annual gaming event that Blizzard Entertainment holds to promote its communities, eSports
, and major games including World of Warcraft
, Heroes of the Storm
, and Overwatch
The convention features game-related announcements as well as previews of upcoming Blizzard games and content, playable versions of certain Blizzard games. Q&A sessions and panels, and costume contests.
When is BlizzCon?
BlizzCon takes place November 2 and 3, 2019, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
The schedule for BlizzCon 2019 is not yet available.
BlizzCon tickets will go on sale sometime in May 2019.
At BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft Classic will be released during the summer of 2019, and will be included in the regular World of Warcraft subscription.
The company also revealed the release of massively multiplayer online action role-playing game (MMORPG) for mobile devices, and the next entry in its Diablo series, Diablo: Immortal, which was evidently poorly received by both attendees and fans .
What is PAX? (West, East, South, and Australia)
PAX, originally known as Penny Arcade Expo, is one of the largest and most popular gaming conventions. It refers to a series of annual gaming conventions that support and celebrate video, tabletop, and arcade gaming. And it’s where indie video developers, as well as major game publishers, can show demos of upcoming games.
First held in August 2004 in Bellevue, Washington, PAX was borne from the minds of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, authors of the popular web comic about gamer life named “Penny Arcade.” They created it because they wanted to attend a show exclusively for gaming .
Its inaugural event was attended by approximately 4,500 people, and now annual attendance regularly numbers in the tens of thousands. By 2010, the convention had expanded to the east coast (PAX East) and then finally into Australia (PAX Australia) and the southern United States (PAX South).
The PAX events feature opening keynote speakers who are usually industry insiders as well as panels with other video game industry professionals.
Some of the cool highlights include:
- Huge expo floor halls that are filled with exhibitor booths from both independent developers and major game publishers alike
- Concerts with live music
- Console and video game free play areas
- Tabletop gaming tournaments
- Local area network (LAN) multiplayer parties with hundreds of high-end PCs available to use
- A festival-long Omegathon tournament in which 20 randomly selected contestants compete for a grand prize, the secret final round of which is usually a cool surprise
When is PAX?
PAX East will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, on March 28 through 31, 2019.
PAX South was held in San Antonio, Texas, at the Washington State Convention Center on January 18 through 20, 2019.
PAX West will be held in Seattle, Washington, at the Washington State Convention Center on a date TBD.
PAX Australia will be held in Melbourne, Australia, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on a date TBD.
The schedule is not yet announced.
Tickets (badges) for PAX East are currently available
for $57 each for each day of the event. You are allowed to purchase up to 4 badges of each type per household. This event sells out quickly so be sure to get them soon if you’re interested.
Every year, PAX East showcases the best indie games available on mobile platforms. New for 2019, they are enabling edibility for games that were developed for the Nintendo Switch and other mobile consoles.
What is Gamescom?
Gamescom (also written as lowercase “gamescom”) is a video gaming convention that is held annually in Cologne, Germany. Always open to the public from inception, it was founded in 2008, where it was originally held in Leipzig (Saxony) Germany.
Dozens of computer and video game developers and publishers exhibit upcoming games and game-related hardware at Gamescom.
It also features conversations, events, and announcements from some of the biggest companies in the gaming world. Measured by exhibition space and number of visitors, Gamescom is the world's largest gaming event. It boasted a whopping 370,000 people and 1,037 exhibitors from 56 countries in 2018 alone .
When is Gamescom?
Gamescom will be held August 20 through 24, 2019 at Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.
The schedule for Gamescom 2019 is not yet available.
Tickets will be available in Spring 2019.