10 Biggest Gaming Conventions in 2017

Here Are The 10 Biggest Upcoming Gaming Conventions in 2017

By Monica Sanchez

Are you looking to celebrate your fandom with like-minded people, but you don’t where you can do that? Consider attending a gaming convention this year. Whether you’re into video games, virtual reality, RPG, or story-board games, 2017 is looking like it’s going to be a great year for gaming conventions.

Below is a list of the ten biggest and most anticipated gaming events scheduled for 2017 by order of dates:

  1. PAX South
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PAX South / Panel Dates: January 27-29, 2017 / Location: San Antonio, TX. – Courtesy photo

PAX South is one convention out of a series of PAX gaming conventions that occur annually. This year it will take place at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, where many game developers will gather to share upcoming news with their fans. While official PAX attendance numbers are never released for any of the regional conventions, PAX South has already proven to be packed with thrilling events that keep people flocking to barge down the doors.

What are some reasons to head south for a PAX convention? PAX South will have all the usual attractions of a PAX convention: panels, the Omegathon tournament, exhibits, music, and more. Some things that we’re looking forward to at PAX South are Polaris Presents: Gamify the News, a panel discussing what our world would like if it were a videogame, Friday the 13th – the game, and a panel explaining how to turn your YouTube hobby into a career.

While three day passes are already sold out, Friday and Sunday passes are still available. Before they vanish, buy them here.

  1. Con Nooga
Con Nooga
Multi-Fandom Heaven / Dates: February 24-26, 2017 / Location: Chattanooga, TN. – Courtesy photo

Con Nooga is Tennessee’s largest gaming and multi-fandom convention. While it is not exclusively for gaming, they do bring vendors together to represent CCG, tabletop, RPG, and story-board games. What’s so appealing about this convention is that it has a little something for everyone. In their tenth year anniversary, they will be celebrating everything from gaming to science fiction, anime, and more. Some attractions to look forward to at the convention this year include a guest appearance from Martin Klebba, live music, a costume contest with a $1000 cash prize, and kid-friendly activities.

Con Nooga 2017 will be hosted at The Chattanooga Convention Center and Historical Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. The Hotel reserved for the convention is already sold out, so buy your tickets now and plan your trip asap. You can find information about the event here.

  1. GDC
GDC
An Opportunity to Network / Dates: February 27 – March 3, 2017 / Location: San Francisco, CA. – Courtesy photo

GDC, the Game Developers Conference, is one of the largest conventions to network at and learn more about the gaming industry. Unlike a typical convention, GDC is not targeted at consumers, but you can attend even if you don’t work in the industry and simply enjoy being around people who love video games just as much as you do. At GDC, there are panels, discussions, and tutorials about the latest gaming technology and development. They also have movie nights, indie developer showcases, and award shows. We’re looking forward to see who will win the 17th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards and the 19th Annual Independent Games festival Awards this year.

You need to be at least eighteen years old to attend the conference and possess a valid school ID. GDC encourages people who aren’t a part of the industry to attend and request that people bring a portfolio or resume along if they’re trying to network. About half the passes are already sold out, so grab yours quick here.

  1. CoastCon
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Gamers Waiting for the Festivities / Dates: March 3-5, 2017 / Location: Biloxi, MS. – Courtesy photo

If you live in the South and can’t make it to PAX South, then don’t fret because you still have time to scrounge up some money for CoastCon. CoastCon is known for being the largest gaming and multi-fandom convention on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. The convention tends to celebrate RPG, card, and story-board games. They will even have a play-to-win board game section and tournaments, where over one hundred board games will be given away. Other attractions at this event include an art auction and sale, guests of honor, such as Kevin Siembieda and Sean Patrick Fannon, and a Diamonds by Stronghold Games tournament, in which the top four contestants will be given a free copy of the game.

This year CoastCon will be hosted at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center, and you get a free dinner with the purchase of a ticket. You can get a discounted membership to the event until February 1st here.

  1. PAX East
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Exhibit Hall / Dates: March 10-12, 2017 / Location: Boston, MA. – Courtesy photo

PAX East 2017 has similar attractions planned for its regional convention as PAX South, but they haven’t posted their schedule of events yet. Even though the schedule is not yet available, they have stated that they intend to highlight indie mobile games. Some interesting mobile games they plan to promote at the convention are Bulb Boy, a game about a boy with a glowing head who has to save everybody from monsters, and Ellipsis, a game that involves guiding your spaceship through an unfamiliar universe.

Badges to the event are already sold out, but people tend to cancel at the last minute and sell them on other sites. So stay vigilant East Coasters!

  1. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo)
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LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 06, 2011 – Demonstration of video game “Dance Central 2” at Microsoft’s 2011 XBox 360 media briefing at Galen Center, June 06, 2011. The presser is to introduce new gaming technology, prior to Electronic Entertainment Expo, E 3. – Photo by Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Unfortunately, I have to break the bad news right away. Don’t plan on coming to E3 this year unless you’re already in the industry. This convention is exclusively open to gaming industry professionals. It’s where game developers and big name companies debut the latest gaming news and showcase the future of video games.

Even though not all of us may have the fortune to freely attend this gaming convention, we still get to geek out over the exciting surprises and news that E3 2017 will bring us. Our eyes are sure to bulge out of our heads when we find out when we can buy and how much Project Scorpio will cost. Nintendo will also be making its debut this year at E3 2017 and Yoshinori Ono, the developer of Street Fighter, hinted that there is a surprise he might reveal there as well.

E3 Dates: June 13-15, 2017
Location: Los Angeles, CA

If you’re in the gaming industry, sign up for updates and announcements concerning the convention here.

  1. Gen Con
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Head Out to the Best in the MidWest! / Dates: August 17-20, 2017 / Location: Indianapolis, IN. – Courtesy photo

Gen Con is one of the biggest RPG, card, and story-board gaming conventions, and this year they’re returning to Indianapolis to celebrate their 50th anniversary. We can’t wait to see what surprise they have in store for their big 5-0. They haven’t released a schedule or list of exhibitors yet, but we already know it’s impossible for them to disappoint. The people behind the convention refer to the event as “the best four days in gaming,” and they’re not wrong. With over 500 exhibitors, Geek Speed Dating, a family fun area, the release of new games, and more, no one could possibly get bored at Gen Con 2017.

Tickets are not yet available for sale, but stay tuned and snatch them starting January 29th here.

  1. Gamescom
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Indoor Gaming Area / Dates: August 22-26, 2017 / Location: Cologne, Germany. – Courtesy photo

Gamescom is the place to be in 2017 if you are a true lover of computer and video games. Over 800 exhibitors will be there showcasing and debuting the latest games and technology. Gamescom has revealed that they intend to highlight interactive games, virtual reality, and new releases of your favorite video games in 2017.

Even though the convention is all about celebrating gaming, this convention has something to entertain people of all ages and fandoms. There will be an indoor area, where a laser game is scheduled to take place, and an outdoor area, where they plan to have a radio station on site, a Red Bull X-Fighters demo show, and the Lexus COS Cup for pro skaters. On top of all that, Gamescom will have live music, a family and friends area for kids, a cosplay village, where a contest with different categories will be held, and a social media stage, where there will be different youtubers on stage every day.

While the first day of the convention is reserved for trade industry professionals and the media, the other four days are open to the public. Gamescom hasn’t made tickets available yet, so the best move to make right now is to keep yourself updated about the event by registering for their newsletter here.

  1. PAX West
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PC Gaming Area / Dates: possibly September 1-4, 2017 (TBA) / Location: Seattle, WA. – Courtesy photo

PAX West, formerly known as PAX Prime, is the original PAX convention for computer and video games. Just like PAX South and East, they will have panels, exhibits, tournaments, and gaming areas for various devices. PAX West 2017 will be hosted at the Washington State Convention Center this year in Seattle, Washington, but the dates for the video game extravaganza have not been released to the public. It has been rumored that PAX West might be scheduled for labor day weekend this year from September 1st-5th, but nothing is official yet. Without official dates in place, we also have no idea what the schedule will look like for PAX West yet either.

Most likely, information about PAX West will not be released until PAX East has ended first. If you want to stay updated with news about the dates, time, and events for PAX West, then you should follow their twitter account: @Official_PAX.

1.Tokyo Game Show

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Gaming Stations as Far as the Eye Can See / Dates: September 21-24, 2017 / Location: Japan – Courtesy photo

The last huge gaming convention of 2017 will be the Tokyo Game Show in Japan. Unfortunately, all we know about this awesome convention is that it’s going to occur in late-September at a venue called Makuhari Messe. The event planners have not yet released a schedule of events or any information about what exciting things to expect this year.

Fortunately, we know what the event was like last year, and it’s sure be similar, if not bigger and better this year. While the first two days of the convention are normally reserved for trade industry professionals and the media, the remaining days of the convention are open to the public. Mobile gaming is typically a big deal at this convention, and they have stations all over the place for groups to participate in multiplayer mobile games. Major and indie game developers are there revealing the latest news about the best videogames, cosplayers galore roam about, and there’s even a kid-friendly area.

If you want to find out when you can buy tickets for the 2017 convention, then we suggest contacting Nikkei Business Publications Inc., co-organizer of the convention, here.

There’s a lot of other big gaming conventions going on this year too. If you didn’t see any conventions close to your home-town or reasonably priced for you, then start scouring the internet for one in your area. With the gaming culture becoming more diverse and popular than ever in recent years, you should have no problem finding a gaming convention of some sort near you. If you’re losing your mind over the sheer awesomeness of some of these shows, then let’s cross our fingers together and hope we can snag some tickets before they’re all gone.

Good luck gamers, and if you want to read on…

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*Originally written for GamersDecide.com

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