Major events have been highlighted in blue.
|Convention||Focus & Notes||Dates||Location||Cost|
|Hardware Trade Shows & Conventions|
|- Press event, pre-CES
- First-look at new hardware
- Interview opportunities
- Attendee count: ~1000-3000
|Las Vegas, NV||Press|
|CES||- Industry event; some consumer access.
- First-look at new consumer electronics & hardware.
- Interview opportunities.
- Panels discussing the future of the electronics industries.
- Hardware & industry analysts.
- Engineers often on-site for interviews.
- New gaming software-hardware technologies.
- Attendee count: ~150,000-200,000
(Normally 2nd week)
|Las Vegas, NV||$100|
|GTC||- Industry / Trade event; consumer access.
- The GPU Technology Conference, as hosted by nVidia.
- In-depth computer science discussion, very programming-heavy.
- Discussion down to individual transistors on the GPUs. Heavy hardware analysis.
- Often reveals new nVidia GPU features (like 3D face sculpting, as seen in the uncanny valley demo released this year).
- Attendee count: 3000+
|March||San Jose, CA||TBD|
|CeBIT||- Consumer event.
- Follow-up coverage from CES (often includes looks at new motherboards & chipsets for the year).
- Heavy gaming HW saturation. Tournaments & pro gamers abound.
- CeBIT is larger than its US and Asian equivalents.
- Attendee count: 330,000+
|March||Hannover, Germany||$30 to $1000|
|Computex||- Industry-focused event; consumer access.
- The "CES" of Taipei. Consumer electronics, computer hardware unveiled.
- Heavier focus on the supply/manufacturer-side of the industry, given its presence in Taiwan.
- More than 5000 exhibition booths present.
- Attendee count: 130,000+ (declining due to desktop PC market losses).
|June||Taipei, Taiwan||Free most days; $7 on the final day. Really.|
|Gaming Conventions & Trade Shows|
|GDC||- Trade-focused event; consumer access. Great for learning about how your favorite games are made.
- The Game Developer's Conference drives home different topics - learn about narration, 'controversial' issues, modeling, data collection, and more.
- Excellent avenues present for breaking into the games industry.
- Attendee count: 23,000+ (growing rapidly)
|March||San Francisco, CA||$75 to $2100|
|PAX East||- Our staff's favorite event (along with Prime). Consumer-focused event; catered to consumers rather than media/PR.
- Affordable. One of the largest expos in the US and the largest on the East coast.
- Board games, video games, PC hardware, gaming culture, cosplay, and "nerd culture" are all focal points.
- A fantastic place to just have fun and be a gamer.
- Attendee count: 70,000+ (growing rapidly)
|March / April||Boston, MA||$35 (one day) or $75 (full weekend)|
|ECGC||- Trade-focused; consumer access.
- A smaller, East Coast attempt at GDC.
- Decent learning / business opportunity for local students and those within driving range.
- Development discussion panels with small expo hall.
- Attendee count: ~1200-3000 area (predicted from our recent visit).
|March / April||Raleigh, NC||TBD|
|E3||- Media-focused; limited consumer access.
- E3 has been on the decline as events like PAX gain greater recognition, but it still retains its relevance when it comes to breaking news.
- If you're looking for console announcements and upcoming title announcements from major developers, E3 is the place to look.
- Attendee count: 48,000
|June||Las Angeles, CA||Press
Limited attendee prices TBD
|ComicCon San Diego||- Consumer-focused.
- No, this isn't a gaming event; it is, however, the pinnacle of consumer-driven nerdy trade shows in the US. If you're into cosplay, comics, blockbuster superhero movies, and pop culture - this is where the buck stops.
- Attendee count: 150,000+
|July||San Diego, CA||TBD|
|PAX Prime||- See the PAX East section above, but add the following:
- Being centrally-located in Seattle, PAX Prime (unlike East) has excellent access to numerous quality hotels and bars / restaurants, making it more externally-enjoyable.
- PAX Prime sells out almost instantly -- often within an hour of tickets going live -- so keep your eyes on PAX social channels.
- Attendee count: ~60,000 to 70,000 (growth-limited by fire code restrictions).
|August / September||Seattle, WA||$35 (one day) or $75 (full weekend)|
- Europe's equivalent to PAX.
- Video game pre-release preview opportunities abound.
- Hands-on time with games and their devs.
- Attendee count: ~40,000
|Escapist Expo||- Consumer-focused.
- NC's attempt at a PAX-style expo.
- Features board games (wargaming, MTG), video games, gaming culture, and cosplay. No HW presence.
- Small, but rapidly growing with the (formidable) Escapist backing it.
- The first Escapist Expo was hosted in 2012.
- Attendee count: Yet unannounced.
|October||Durham, NC||$20 (one day) or $40 (full weekend)|
|- See the ComicCon: SD section, add the following:
- If you're looking for ComicCon on the East coast, your major options are Nashville and Philadelphia. Definitely worth considering.
- Entirely dedicated to Blizzard's games, e-Sports, and a few hardware vendors (tournament sponsors).
- Excellent e-Sports venue for SC2 fans.
- Unveils of Blizzard's upcoming ventures.
- Attendee count: 30,000+
|November||Anaheim, CA||$175 ($40 for digital pass)|
|LAN Events & Tournaments|
|MLG||- Dedicated to showcasing the best talent in e-Sports, often includes international players (EU, KR).
- Great to compete in if you want to try your hand or get discovered by a pro team.
- Even more fun to just hang out and watch the best gamers destroy each other for one glorious, caffeine-filled weekend.
- Attendee count: Varies by city. Often in the 10k-20k range.
|Quarterly||Varies||$35 spectator pass|
|QuakeCon||- A remnant of gaming's early competitive history, QuakeCon now stands as one of the nation's largest LAN parties.
- As with all LAN events, BYOC attendance means ample opportunity to showcase high-end machines and case mods.
- Attendee count: 7700+
|LANFest||- Hosted by Intel, often found on Intel's campuses.
- General gaming with supporting tournaments, typically fairly large prize support.
- Main event hosted in Sacramento. Also found in Boston.
- Attendee count: TBA
|DreamHack||- One of the world's largest remaining gaming tournaments.
- Even if you're not local to Sweden, DreamHack streams its most prominent matches and gets global recognition for its showmanship.
- Attendee count: 20,000+
As stated, there are dozens more shows (especially when counting LAN events), so please comment below with any that you'd like to bring the attention of our readers to.
See you on the show floor!
- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.