When the cold nights draw in and winter grasps hold, what better to do than stay inside and design games? There are a multitude of gaming conventions and game conferences all year round that offer great opportunities to show off your game design skills, test and improve your coding against others, or get your game demo exposed to thousands of potential fans.
The global game jam is soon to be upon us again in January, and over the coming weeks we’ll take a look at how you can prepare for the event. Until then, there are a lot of gaming conventions around the world this winter that promise some rewarding experiences.
Eurogamer hosts their expo at the NEC Birmingham in the U.K. The Rezzed zone is a must see for indie developers looking to network or demo their game. The chance to meet and chat with other artists, programmers and game designers is worth the visit. The event takes place at the end of September, with the eSports ranked tournament offering a $100k prize pot. The Career fair is a lucrative event that might just get your foot in the door as a game developer. Yoggscast will also be attending and hosting a merchandise booth and signing session.
Tickets for the 3 day gaming convention range from £17.50 to £20 and can be bought on the website at http://www.egx.net
The Video Gamers United Convention is a two day even on the 3rd and 4th October. Tickets cost $25 per day (around £15) and VIP entry is $110 (£68). A two day ticket costs $40.
Exhibitors can register on http://www.vgu-con.com to reserve their booth. GameStop, E.A, and Alienware are sponsoring this year’s video game convention. In attendance this year are Microsoft, Bethesda, and the W.I.G.I.
The VGU convention in Washington D.C is a great gaming event for aspiring game developers. It has a ton of panels on career paths, where companies like Bethesda are hiring talented individuals. There’s also a noteworthy Music in video games panel this year, with a discussion on getting your music licensed for video games.
The Retro gaming zone offers yet more events, and the chance to play big brand games, as well as indie demo games. Workshops will feature hands on game design, game building, minecraft modding, virtual reality, and surface gaming. This is one convention you just should not miss.
The Play Expo runs October 10th and October 11th in Manchester, United Kingdom. This is a virtual treasure mine for indie game developers as Play Expo is dedicated to offering prime location exhibitor stands to indie artists at low cost. This offers an immensely valuable opportunity for indie game designers to get their demo game shown to thousands of visitors. Developers can apply directly on the website for an exhibit booth. The weekend is packed full of events, with celebrity signing sessions, eSport tournaments, cosplay competitions, guest speakers, retro gaming, pinball, minecraft zone, and tons more.
One of the most exciting features of Play Expo is the education fair, where you can learn more about game design and speak with industry professionals, game studios, and colleges in their sponsored hands-on workshops. Tickets are available at http://www.Playexpo.net and cost from £16 a day for adults, or £26 for both days. A family ticket is £42 for 2 adults and 2 children.
Penny Arcade Expo also runs an event down under on October 30th in Melbourne Australia. Penny Arcade is perhaps one of the most popular gaming conventions and draws in the largest crowd of gamers, fans, designers, coders and developers from around the world.
Event attendee tickets start at $60, and a three day pass costs $160. Booth exhibits can be registered at www.paxaustralia.com.au but you should act fast because this major event fills up quick. PAX events, if you’re not familiar with Penny Arcade are literally jam packed weekends filled with an immense choice of panels, keynote speeches, and live gaming streams. A wealth of game studios, developers and designers share their knowledge and demonstrate game design as well as showcase indie game releases and major AAA games. Developers can learn a lot from panels and workshops running all weekend. The most rewarding opportunity at PAX is making contacts and getting your soundtrack or game shown to millions of attendees.
Ohio Game Developer Conference
This event covers every aspect of game design and development. From graphics and soundtrack design, to porting and marketing games. The Ohio Game developer expo begins on November 6th. Interested designers who want to get their game noticed can register an exhibit at https://www.ohiogamedevexpo.com/
A standard booth is $200 and a large booth costs $450. Smaller exhibit space ideal for indie developers is available in the form of the Independent tabletop at $20.
The event is home to a massive range of over 50 exhibitors, including Extra life, the charity foundation. Gary Butterfield, musician, gamer and podcaster at www.duckfeed.tv is speaking at this year’s event. Also in attendance and speaking is renowned eSports event host Jess Brohard. Event tickets start at $15 rising to $75. Indie game developers will be very interested in the audio panel mentorship, and voice acting panel at this year’s event. There are also workshops and audio competitions serving up the chance to get your music licensed and included in game releases.
Dreamhack is an amazing gaming convention experience to behold. The event is held in Jönköping, Sweden from 26th to 29th November. The winter hack this year offers great esport tournaments in Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. There’s live music, and a cosplay contest. The atmosphere at Dreamhack is just surreal, with thousands of gamers joining the huge Lan party to game and compete professionally, just for fun, and for prize pots. $40,000 is up for grabs but the competition will be fierce. Be sure to watch the streams live online if you can’t make this event.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.dreamhack.se or at the event on the day. A table seat will cost 989 SEK, roughly £77 or $115. An event pass is available at 600 SEK, and a competitor pass also at 600 SEK (approximately £46 or $70).
Paris Games Week
Paris Games Week serves up aspiring game developers a unique jobs fair with its own internship forum that can land successful game designers a job offer on the spot. The event starts on 12th November, and there is a focus on French artists and games developed locally in France. The eSport World Cup is probably the biggest event of the week that draws in thousands of gamers to downtown Paris. Developers in the U.K or Europe should consider a jaunt over to Paris Games Week for the chance to network with professional game developers and visit some of the 300 exhibitors. Tickets start at €11 and can be booked in advance on the website.
That fills out the roundup for the winter season of gaming conventions and conferences in 2015. Which event will you be attending? We’ll take a look at more upcoming events in January 2016.