List of Gaming, LAN, & Hardware Conventions to Visit

By Published September 17, 2013 at 4:06 am

With the end of convention season now upon us -- marked most notably with the conclusion of PAX Prime -- it's time to start prepping for next year's big events. We'll be hitting 15 of the biggest gaming, hardware, and "nerd culture" events in 2014, but there are always smaller, local shows to consider as well; if you're interested in getting into convention culture, we'll briefly overview the major (and some minor) events to add to your watch list. This list of gaming, hardware, & LAN events should serve as your top-level itinerary of gaming expositions to consider attending. In the least, get out to something local and support your homegrown gaming communities!

There's an uncountable number of local shows out there, so if we missed one that's near you, be sure to drop a comment with information for others in the region! Because the amount of gaming conventions is purely overwhelming, we've compiled them in table format for quick-reference. The events are separated into their greater categories, but may span numerous categories (PAX hosts gaming, hardware, and e-Sports events, for instance).

 

Major events have been highlighted in blue.

ConventionFocus & NotesDatesLocationCost
Hardware Trade Shows & Conventions
Pepcom
Digital Experience
- Press event, pre-CES
- First-look at new hardware
- Interview opportunities
- Attendee count: ~1000-3000

January
(Normally 2nd week)

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
January
(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)
EuroGamer - Consumer-focused.
- Europe's equivalent to PAX.
- Video game pre-release preview opportunities abound.
- Hands-on time with games and their devs.
- Attendee count: ~40,000
September London, UK TBD
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)
ComicCon
Nashville
- 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.
October Nashville, TN $65+
BlizzCon - Consumer-focused.
- 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+
August Dallas, TX $30+
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
Quarterly Varies $15+
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+
Winter
Summer
Joenkoeping, Sweden TBD

 

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.

Last modified on September 24, 2013 at 4:06 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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