1. Game Developers Conference
San Francisco, California, United States
Consisting of talks for the industry, by the industry, but with plenty of tidbits for interested onlookers, GDC’s main annual conference doubles as venue for the Independent Game Festival and its award show, as well as the respected Game Developers Choice Awards. Look out for chat from Valve, Microsoft and Epic as studios gear up their efforts working with new hardware and more impressive game engines.
2. Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Since 1995, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has grown into the largest US convention for the computer and video game industry. Companies from Nintendo to Sony come to E3 to unveil their new games and showcase the latest technology and software. Is this where Sony and Microsoft will reveal their new PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 in 2013?
The world’s largest trade and public video games expo took no time at all to establish itself, branching off from the old Leipzig Games Convention in 2009 and offering hands-on time with new games and games devices. It’s become a venue popular with manufacturers and studios preparing for the end-of-year holiday season as well as with the public looking to get hands-on time with the latest games. In 2012, Gamescom counted 275,000 visitors.
4. PAX East and 10th PAX Prime
March 22-24 and August (TBC)
Boston, Massachusetts and Seattle, Washington, United States
Still retaining a grassroots vibe and covering video games and board games, concerts and competitions, the US PAX events each clear around 70,000 visitors per show. A chance for developers and punters to mix freely, with plenty of talks, panels, podcasts, parties and gaming sessions to attend. 2013 marks the first year that PAX extends beyond North America, with the first PAX Australia planned for July 19-21 in Melbourne.
5. Tokyo Game Show
Along with GDC, E3 and Gamescom, one of the year’s most important and influential expos. Even if in these last years the main companies chose to announce their new products in Los Angeles and Cologne, TGS remains home turf for Sony, while Nintendo will likely make any announcements at a separate, concurrent press event.