Once upon a time, gaming was reserved for a passionate few, but in the last few years, gaming has entered the mainstream. Nearly everyone loves gaming, whether you like cosy games to do with farming and island hopping, more classic first-person shooters, slot games or Japanese detective stories.
With the return to in-person events, many gamers cannot wait to get back to attending gaming conferences. These conferences, or conventions, are held all around the world, and each has its own unique flavour and history. This article will look at just a few of the different gaming conferences you can attend, what you can expect from them, and where else you might want to visit when you aren’t hanging out at the convention centre.
So, if you are a passionate gamer who has also been bitten by the travel bug, read on- you might find your next exciting destination to visit!
1. Germany: Gamescom
Otherwise known as ‘The Heart of Gaming’, Gamescom is held in Cologne- a stunning 2000-year-old city which is the perfect way to get a taste of Germany. Running the span of the Rhine River, the city has so much to offer. With so many great attractions and things to do, you can visit Cologne Cathedral, or head to Museum Ludwig to see amazing works of art by Picasso and other such masters for a trip of a lifetime.
Germany’s Gamescom is the world’s largest trade fair for video games and is now in its thirteenth year. Visitors can look forward to cosplay, many activities, and the opportunity to discover indie games you may not have heard of.
2. Amsterdam: iGB Live!
iGB Live! takes place this year from September 28th through to October 1st, held in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. The beautiful capital of the Netherlands is worth visiting all on its own, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it was already on your bucket list. From seeing the stunning architecture of the city while riding a bicycle to visiting the Anne Frank House and Rijksmuseum, there is so much to see and do, but don’t forget to spend some of your time exploring at iGB Live!
Priding itself on being a conference that showcases technology for business rather than just iGaming, you will be able to hear from experts in the field who are expanding into new markets and working in sustainability and growth.
3. Tokyo: Tokyo Game Show
This Japanese event often attracts more than 270,000 visitors, making it one of the biggest and best game shows in the world. Based in stunning Tokyo, this is a great way to tick Japan off your travel list. Tokyo itself is bustling with amazing nightlife and historic shrines that you can visit, as well as modern Japanese cultural sites like the Ghibli Museum. Whether you are eager to try some authentic sushi or want to visit a traditional temple, there are a great number of amazing things to do in Tokyo for a holiday to remember.
However, at the heart of any dedicated gamer will be a visit to the Tokyo Game Show. The first two days are open to industry insiders, but the last two days are open to the public. There is a general exhibition area for digital gaming, as well as areas for sales of gaming goods, accessories and devices. The Tokyo Game Show is a fantastic visit as part of a family holiday, or you can make the trip especially to see this massive gaming experience in person.
4. London: ICE London
ICE London returns from 12th-14th April 2022, bringing gaming expertise to the UK’s capital. London is the perfect place for a weekend or midweek break away, no matter where you are based in Europe… and beyond! Stop by Buckingham Palace to see if you can spot any royals (or just get a fantastic photo or two) and go shopping at the world-famous Harrods store for peak elegance. There are also an incredible amount of art galleries, such as the Tate Modern, and museums like the Natural History Museum to educate and inspire, and an outstanding range of delicious restaurants to try with amazing food and menus.
However, the main focus of your visit, for anyone interested in iGaming, has to be ICE London- a gaming industry stalwart for more than twenty years, there is as much to see in ICE London as there is out in the city. Known as the leading gaming technology event for business growth, developing and networking, the ICE London gaming event is one you don’t want to miss out on! From entrepreneurs and technology specialists to investors and product developers, this is a great place to make connections for those who love iGaming.
5. Malta: Sigma Europe
Europe is known as a leading market in the gaming world, and Sigma Europe is a seminal event in the gaming calendar. Malta may be an island, but when you head to Sigma Europe, you will have plenty of things to do- from going diving to seeing the fallen Azure Window in Gozo and visiting the strange and wonderful Popeye Village; once a movie set, now a main tourist attraction, the things to see and do here are outstanding.
At Sigma Europe itself, this iGaming conference hosts some of the biggest names in the gaming industry. It is an excellent forum to network, but also somewhere where startups can display their innovative new projects and more. This is perhaps the best place in Europe to be if you are interested in iGaming and want to be at the heart of the industry.
6. San Diego: San Diego Comic-Con
With over 130,000 attendees during a typical year, San Diego Comic-Con is a behemoth in the world of gaming conferences and conventions. Set in beautiful California, if you head over for this convention, make sure not to miss the iconic San Diego Zoo, and go for a stroll in Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Ideal for nature lovers as well as those who adore gaming, San Diego is a great place to enjoy a holiday, and you can easily explore the areas around it.
San Diego Comic-Con itself has fast become one of the best recognised and most beloved conventions in the world, and this conference is visited by gamers and those who love comics and fandom. It is not unusual for visitors to show up in full cosplay, so if that sounds like something you might be into, this is the best place to give it a try. Expect panels, booths, glimpses of yet-to-be-released games, and to meet fellow fans who love the same games that you do!
Decide which gaming conference & holiday destination to visit next
If you love gaming, there are so many conferences and conventions that you can attend around the world where you will be able to see some amazing games, meet creators, and make friends with like-minded gamers. Fans of console games will be able to attend events to buy a range of merchandise, see new game teasers and releases in person, and potentially meet some of their idols in the gaming industry.
For those interested in iGaming, there are also plenty of global gaming conferences which are targeted towards gambling and the sports betting industry. Whether you’re interested in discovering more about slot games, game developers, or you are interested in seeing updates and insights into table games, online bingo, and casino games, there might be an iGaming conference near you soon.
There is nothing quite like the energy and excitement of a convention, so gamers or even those who work in the gaming industry have a great chance to plan out their next holiday adventure around which conference they would like to visit next. Whether you’re a conference veteran or a newbie, it’s the perfect chance to dive deeper into the gaming world - while also exploring some amazing real-world locations too.