The gaming industry is growing, and gaming conventions are responding with symmetrical growth: some of them gather hundreds of thousands of people. And even more: many gaming conventions go online as well as offline due to a) the pandemic and b) the overall digitalization. Taking part in a gaming convention is a huge PR step for any gaming brand: such conventions are a cornerstone of the gaming community; they gather people that are already interested and ready to spend money on your products.
So, what are the main conventions you should attend or at least note in 2022? See the list of the 10 most significant and most hyping events from all over the world.
21.03-25.03, San Francisco, CA, the US
Game Developers Conference is made solely for those who have a place in the industry. The convention offers training courses from experts, masterclasses, interviews, and calls cultivating the game development community one of its goals.
There also is an award, but it’s not only about “the best game of the year”: the annual Game Developers Choice Award takes developers’ hard work, creativity, and technical skills into account in the first place.
There also is an Independent Games Festival that is a part of the global GDC convention.
GDC may not be as crowded or even entertaining as the rest of the big gaming shows, but it is concentrated on the developers’ problems, ideas, and needs.
June 2022, dates to be added later, Los Angeles, CA, the US
E3 stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo, it gathers more than 60 thousand attendees annually. While it may seem too small compared to other similar expos, E3 attracts such names as Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Square Enix, Sega, Verizon, and others.
E3 is made specifically to give gaming brands a platform to present their products, give the audience the first look at new games and more exclusive information on the upcoming updates, events, etc.
In 2020 E3 was entirely canceled due to the pandemic, in 2021 it became an online-only event, but there is a strong intention to bring it back offline in June 2022.
20.07-24.07, San-Diego, CA, the US
It may seem that Comic-Con is not quite relevant in terms of gaming, but it’s a false assumption. Comic-Con is a legend, one of the first conventions of its kind in the whole history: the first Comic-Con was held in 1970. Now, the convention is a) one of the largest international geek conventions and b) is definitely the most significant to the community one. It gathers more than 130 thousand comics enthusiasts, cosplayers, and gamers, of course.
The audience here is wide and mixed, which is an opportunity for brands not only to reach out to those who are already interested in gaming but also to attract new clients and partners. Comic-Con welcomes gaming brands to be exhibitors and partners, along with representatives from the comics, art, and film industries.
24.08 (VIP and press), 25.08-28.08, Cologne, Germany
This is the largest Europe’s game convention held annually in Cologne, Germany. In 2021 it still was purely digital, but it’s promised to come back offline in 2022. The first day is reserved for press and VIP attendees only, and the main part for everyone lasts for 4 whole days.
Gamescom usually gathers more than 370 thousand attendees offline and in 2021 there were 13 million online viewers from 180 countries. The convention also includes the best games of the year awards for the top-class international game publishers and developers. Also, there is an entire section for indie games, so the convention is relevant not only for the biggest game companies.
Another Asia-based gaming convention with 250+ thousand attendees. Aside from being that big and that cool for gamers and holding – of course – its own gaming award, Tokyo Game Show suggests special opportunities for businesses. A special TGS Business Matching System allows to make appointments with exhibitors, learn more about their technologies, products, and services, and have a word with brand representatives – shortly, it’s a great networking opportunity.
Another nice thing Tokyo Game Show offers game developers and publishers is a forum where you can learn something new from your competitors and partners as well as share your own experience and show off a bit more.
06.10-12.10, São Paulo, Brazil
A convention of 300+ thousand attendees, it’s one of the largest gaming conventions in the world. The show encourages showing off and networking, attracting small game developers as well as the industry mastodons.
PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo are among the dedicated attendees who visit the convention every year. In 2021, there also were Marvel, YouTube, Facebook, Magic: The Gathering, and a whole bunch of brands that make products for gamers, like Asus, Acer, Intel, Logitech, etc. Big names message the high importance of the show to the gaming industry and community.
Dates to be added later, Shanghai
Also known as China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, but let’s call it ChinaJoy for short. It gathers approximately 270 thousand attendees and is growing every year, which is not surprising considering the growing number (and success) of Asian game developers. But it doesn’t mean that ChinaJoy is interesting for Asians only: the convention attracts visitors from at least 30 countries.
Over 3,500 game showcases are presented to the visitors, and it’s not the limit, apparently. Also, ChinaJoy holds its own awards for game developers and best games, and gamers can participate in cosplay and e-sports contests.
Dates to be added later, Moscow, Russia
IgroMir may not be as famous as other conventions, but it’s the largest in the CIS region with its approximately 160 thousand annually attendees. IgroMir has been on stage since 2006, and since 2016 it is held in conjunction with Comic-Con Russia, which makes the event even bigger and more significant to the community. This game expo is aimed not only at games and gamers but also at cosplay and cosplayers, many of which choose to cosplay and therefore promote games once again.
It’s remarkable that IgroMir tends to invite gaming and geek industry stars: in 2019, Hideo Kojima was the main guest of the convention, he held a meeting to tell the audience more of his then much-expected Death Stranding game. No wonder IgroMir gathered more than 183 thousand visitors that year.
In 2020 and 2021, however, the convention was held online only due to the pandemic, but it is promised to go back offline in Moscow in 2022.
Dates to be added later, Busan, South Korea
Korean largest game expo both for gamers and gaming brands. It gathers more than 200 thousand attendees, in 2019, for example, there were more than 244 thousand visitors. A nice addition: they also disclose the number of B2B attendees, and there were almost 2500 of them in 2019.
G-Star has special media and business days for those from the gaming industry only: it’s a chance for networking, finding new opportunities, and telling more relevant people about your products. There also is an opportunity to participate in G-Star’s business matching online regardless of your location.
Dates to be added later, Jönköping, Sweden
Actually, there is a whole bunch of DreamHacks around the world and year, but the main DreamHack gaming convention is always set in Sweden. The expo specializes in esports and holds tournaments annually. Fun fact: it’s DreamHacks who set the record for holding the biggest LAN party in the world - approved by the Guinness Book of Records. It is also recognized as the festival that generated the most traffic.
This convention is more relevant to those gaming brands that aim at esports and cyber sportsmen - both professional and amateur. Also, it’s not necessary to go to Sweden to participate, you can choose a DreamHack that is closer to your headquarters: for example, in Anaheim, Atlanta, Dallas, Valencia, Rotterdam, etc.