Level Up Your Knowledge: A Guide to Video Game Trade Shows


Come explore video game trade shows, where professionals and enthusiasts network, learn about new developments, and experience hands on gameplay.

video game trade shows

What to expect to learn in this article

  • Who should go to a video game trade show
  • What are the benefits of attending a gaming industry trade show
  • How do you prepare to attend a video game tradeshow
  • A list of over 15 video game trade shows to attend in the US

Who should attend a Video Game trade show?

Trade shows can be valuable for a wide range of individuals and businesses, depending on their goals, roles, and industry involvement.  The following are some key groups of people who can benefit from attending trade shows:

  1. Business Owners and Entrepreneurs:

Business owners and entrepreneurs can benefit from trade shows by networking with potential partners, investors, suppliers, buyers and clients. It’s an opportunity to showcase their products or services and gain industry insights.

  1. Sales and Marketing Teams:

Sales and marketing professionals can use trade shows to generate leads, engage with potential clients, and build brand awareness. They can also gather market intelligence and competitive information.

  1. Product Managers and Developers:

Product managers and developers can showcase new products, gather feedback, and observe how users interact with their offerings. This can lead to valuable insights for product improvements.

  1. Distributors and Retailers:

Distributors and retailers can explore new products, negotiate deals with manufacturers, and establish partnerships with suppliers. Trade shows provide firsthand access to a variety of products in one place.

  1. Manufacturers and Suppliers:

Manufacturers and suppliers can use trade shows to connect with potential buyers, distributors, and partners. They can showcase their products and capabilities to a targeted audience.

  1. Industry Professionals:

Professionals working within a specific industry can attend trade shows to stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices within that industry.

  1. Investors and Venture Capitalists:

Investors and venture capitalists can attend trade shows to discover innovative startups and new investment opportunities. It’s a way to identify promising companies in emerging markets.

  1. Media and Journalists:

Media professionals, including journalists, bloggers, and content creators, can attend trade shows to gather information for stories, interview industry experts, and report on new products and developments.

  1. Job Seekers and Students:

Job seekers and students looking to enter a specific industry can benefit from attending trade shows to network with potential employers, learn about job opportunities, and gain insights into the industry landscape.

  1. Government and Regulatory Officials:

Government representatives and regulatory officials can attend trade shows to learn about industry innovations, monitor compliance with regulations, and engage with industry stakeholders.

  1. Service Providers:

Service providers such as consultants, legal experts, financial advisors, and marketing agencies can attend trade shows to showcase their services and connect with potential clients.

  1. Innovators and Inventors:

Innovators and inventors with new technologies or solutions can use trade shows to gain exposure, find potential partners, and demonstrate their creations to a relevant audience.

It’s important to consider your specific goals and objectives when deciding who from your organization should attend a trade show. Each person’s role and expertise will determine how they can make the most of the opportunities the trade show has to offer.

What are the benefits of going to a Video Game trade show?

Attending a trade show can offer numerous benefits for individuals and businesses involved in the video game industry. Here are some of the key advantages of participating in trade shows:

  1. Networking Opportunities:

Trade shows provide a platform to meet and connect with industry professionals, potential clients, suppliers, partners, and peers. These connections can lead to valuable collaborations and partnerships to help grow your business.

  1. Product Showcase and Launch:

Trade shows offer a prime opportunity to showcase new products, services, or innovations to a targeted audience. It’s a chance to generate buzz, attract attention, and get immediate feedback from attendees.

  1. Market Research:

Attending a trade show allows you to gain insights into market trends, industry developments, and the competition. You can learn about new technologies, customer preferences, and emerging opportunities.  With this information, you can keep your business up to date and reach new customers.

  1. Brand Exposure and Recognition:

Exhibiting at a trade show can enhance your brand’s visibility and recognition within your industry. It’s a way to establish your presence and credibility among a relevant audience.

  1. Direct Customer Engagement:

Trade shows enable face to face interactions with potential customers and clients. You can engage in meaningful conversations, answer questions, and address concerns, leading to a stronger customer relationship.

  1. Lead Generation:

Trade shows attract attendees who are genuinely interested in the industry. This presents a valuable opportunity to gather leads, contacts, and potential clients for your business.

  1. Learning and Education:

Trade shows often feature workshops, seminars, and presentations by industry experts. Participating in these sessions can enhance your knowledge, skills, and understanding of industry trends.

  1. Competitive Analysis:

By observing your competitors’ presentations and interactions, you can gain insights into their strategies, products, and positioning within the market.

  1. In-Person Demos and Testing:

For products that require hands-on experience or demonstrations, trade shows provide an ideal environment for potential customers to try out your offerings.

  1. Industry Insights and Updates:

Trade shows often feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, and presentations by thought leaders. These sessions can keep you informed about the latest industry developments, regulations, and best practices.

  1. Media Exposure:

Trade shows attract journalists, bloggers, and media representatives looking for newsworthy stories. Participating can result in media coverage that helps spread the word about your brand.

  1. Building Relationships:

Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones. Face-to-face interactions can foster trust and rapport that might be harder to achieve through virtual means.

  1. Recruitment and Talent Acquisition:

If you’re looking to hire talent, trade shows can be a place to meet potential employees, freelancers, or collaborators with specialized skills in your industry.

Remember that the benefits you gain from a trade show will depend on factors like your goals, preparation, presentation, and engagement during the event. It’s important to plan your participation strategically to make the most of the opportunities trade shows offer.

How do you prepare to go to a trade show (as a visitor)

Preparing to attend a trade show as a visitor requires a different set of considerations compared to preparing as a vendor.  Below are ways you can effectively prepare for a trade show as a visitor:

  1. Set Goals and Objectives:

Determine what you want to achieve by attending the trade show. Are you looking to network, learn about industry trends, discover new products, or make specific business connections? Setting clear goals will help you focus your efforts.

  1. Research the Event:

Learn about the trade show’s schedule, exhibitors, sessions, workshops, and keynote speakers. This will help you plan which parts of the event you want to attend and which exhibitors you want to visit.

  1. Register in Advance:

Register for the trade show well in advance to secure your entry. Some trade shows offer discounted or free registration if you sign up early.

  1. Plan Your Schedule:

Review the trade show’s agenda and create a personalized schedule. Choose the sessions, workshops, and presentations that align with your interests and objectives.

  1. Review the Exhibitor List:

Check the list of exhibitors to identify companies you want to visit. Research their products, services, and offerings in advance so you can have more meaningful conversations.

  1. Prepare Questions:

Think of relevant questions to ask exhibitors or presenters. This will help you gather the information you’re seeking and make the most of your interactions.

  1. Check for Special Events:

Some trade shows have special events, product launches, or networking sessions. Look for these opportunities and plan to attend those that align with your goals.

  1. Pack Essentials:

Pack essentials like comfortable shoes, a notepad, pens, business cards, a charger, and a reusable water bottle. You’ll be walking and engaging in conversations, so being prepared will keep you comfortable.

  1. Bring Marketing Collateral:

While you’re not exhibiting, having a few business cards and a simple brochure about your company can be helpful for networking and sharing your information with others.

  1. Practice Your Elevator Pitch:

Be ready to introduce yourself and explain your role or interests concisely. This will help you make a good impression during networking interactions.

  1. Network Strategically:

Identify key individuals or companies you want to connect with, and prioritize visiting their booths or attending sessions where they might be presenting.

  1. Engage on Social Media:

Follow the trade show’s official social media channels and use event-specific hashtags to stay updated on real-time information and connect with other attendees.

  1. Stay Open Minded:

Be open to new ideas, products, and connections. Trade shows are great opportunities to discover things you might not have considered before.

  1. Plan for Follow Up:

After the trade show, review your notes, contacts, and collected materials. Follow up with new contacts, potential partners, and any interesting companies you encountered.

  1. Stay Energized and Hydrated:

Trade shows can be busy and tiring, so make sure to take breaks, stay hydrated, and have snacks on hand.

By preparing and planning ahead, you can make the most of your time at the trade show and maximize the value you gain from attending as a visitor.

How do you prepare to go to a trade show (as a vendor)

Preparing to go to a trade show as a vendor requires careful planning, organization, and attention to detail to ensure that you make a positive impact and achieve your business objectives. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to prepare as a trade show vendor:

  1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives:

Define what you want to achieve by participating in the trade show. Are you aiming to generate leads, launch a new product, increase brand awareness, or establish partnerships?

  1. Choose the Right Trade Show:

Research and select trade shows that align with your target audience, industry, and goals. Consider factors like attendee demographics, location, and reputation.

  1. Secure Your Booth Space:

Reserve your booth space well in advance to secure a prime location on the trade show floor. Consider factors like visibility, foot traffic, and proximity to high-traffic areas.

  1. Design Your Booth:

Design a visually appealing and engaging booth that reflects your brand identity and effectively communicates your message. Use eye-catching graphics, banners, signage, and lighting.

  1. Develop a Compelling Message:

Craft a clear and concise message that explains who you are, what you offer, and how it benefits attendees. Your message should resonate with your target audience.

  1. Create Marketing Materials:

Develop promotional materials such as brochures, flyers, business cards, product samples, and giveaways. Ensure that these materials are aligned with your branding and message.

  1. Plan Interactive Elements:

Incorporate interactive elements into your booth to engage attendees. This could include product demonstrations, interactive displays, games, or contests.

  1. Train Your Team:

Train your booth staff to effectively engage with attendees, deliver your message, answer questions, and handle objections. They should be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your products.

  1. Prepare Lead Capture Methods:

Have a system in place to capture lead information from attendees who show interest in your products or services. This could be through digital scanners, tablets, or traditional sign-up sheets.

  1. Plan Your Booth Layout:

Organize your booth layout to be inviting and functional. Include areas for product displays, demonstrations, discussions, and lead capture.

  1. Promote Your Presence:

Use your marketing channels to let your audience know you’ll be at the trade show. Send email invitations, leverage social media, and update your website with event details.

  1. Prepare a Follow Up Strategy:

Plan how you’ll follow up with leads and contacts after the trade show. Develop personalized follow-up emails, calls, or meetings to nurture relationships.

  1. Pack Essentials:

Pack everything you’ll need for the trade show, including promotional materials, booth supplies, technology (such as tablets or laptops), product samples, and branded attire for your team.

  1. Set Up Early:

Arrive at the trade show venue early to set up your booth. Make sure all equipment is functional, displays are arranged neatly, and promotional materials are organized.

  1. Engage Attendees Proactively:

Proactively approach attendees, greet them warmly, and initiate conversations. Ask open-ended questions to understand their needs and tailor your pitch accordingly.

  1. Collect Feedback and Data:

Gather feedback from attendees about their experience with your booth and products. Use this feedback to improve your trade show strategy for future events.

  1. Network with Other Vendors:

Engage with fellow vendors to build relationships, exchange insights, and explore potential collaborations or partnerships.

  1. Stay Energized and Hydrated:

Trade shows can be exhausting, so ensure you and your team stay hydrated, take breaks, and have snacks available.

Remember that trade shows provide valuable opportunities to connect with your target audience, generate leads, and showcase your products. Effective preparation will contribute to a successful and impactful trade show experience for your business.

trade show

A List of Trade Shows for Video Games

Several trade shows and conventions in the USA focus on video games and related industries. These events provide opportunities to network, showcase new products, and stay updated on the latest developments in the gaming world. Here are some notable trade shows in the USA that deal with video games:

  1. Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3):

E3 is one of the most significant and well-known video game trade shows in the world. It showcases the latest advancements in gaming hardware, software, and technology. The event features announcements from major gaming companies and attracts a global audience.

Website: https://www.e3expo.com/

  1. PAX (Penny Arcade Expo):

PAX is a series of gaming festivals held across multiple cities in the United States. It focuses on video games, tabletop games, and all forms of gaming culture. PAX events offer a mix of industry showcases, playable game demos, panel discussions, and community engagement.

Website: https://www.paxsite.com/

  1. Game Developers Conference (GDC):

While GDC primarily caters to game developers, it’s also an essential event for anyone involved in the video game industry. It features lectures, panels, and networking opportunities, covering topics such as game design, programming, business strategies, and more.

Website: https://www.gdconf.com/

  1. Comic-Con International: San Diego:

While Comic-Con covers a wide range of pop culture, it includes a significant focus on video games, especially in recent years. Video game publishers often use this event to showcase upcoming titles and interact with fans.

Website: https://www.comic-con.org/

  1. New York Comic Con:

Similar to San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con includes a section dedicated to video games and gaming culture. It’s a platform for both big and indie game publishers to engage with fans and showcase their products.

Website: https://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

  1. SXSW Gaming Expo:

Part of the larger SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, the SXSW Gaming Expo explores the crossroads of gaming, technology, and culture. It includes exhibitions, panels, and competitions related to video games and interactive media.

Website: https://www.sxsw.com/conference/game-industry/

  1. DreamHack:

DreamHack is a gaming lifestyle festival that features esports tournaments, LAN parties, indie game showcases, and more. It has events in various cities across the United States.

Website: https://dreamhack.com/

  1. Portland Retro Gaming Expo:

This expo celebrates the nostalgia of retro video games and gaming culture. It’s an opportunity to buy, sell, and trade classic video games, consoles, and collectibles.

Website: https://www.retrogamingexpo.com/

  1. MAGFest (Music and Gaming Festival):

MAGFest is an annual festival that celebrates the intersection of video game music, culture, and gaming. It features concerts, panels, gaming tournaments, and more.

Website: https://super.magfest.org/

  1. Seattle Indies Expo (SIX):

Focused on indie game developers and their creations, SIX provides a platform for showcasing innovative and unique indie games.

Website: https://www.seattleindies.org/six/

  1. California Extreme:

This event is all about classic and vintage arcade games. It’s a great opportunity for enthusiasts to play and learn about arcade games from the past.

Website: http://caextreme.org/

  1. Boston Festival of Indie Games (FIG):

FIG celebrates independent game developers and their creations. It’s a gathering of indie game enthusiasts, developers, and fans.

Website: http://bostonfig.com/

  1. MomoCon:

While MomoCon covers a wide range of pop culture topics, it includes a significant focus on gaming, including video games, tabletop games, and cosplay.

Website: https://www.momocon.com/

  1. East Coast Game Conference (ECGC):

ECGC is focused on game development, networking, and education. It’s an opportunity for professionals in the gaming industry to connect and learn.

Website: https://ecgconf.com/

  1. GaymerX:

GaymerX is an inclusive event that focuses on LGBTQ+ gamers and creators. It’s a space for networking, discussions, and celebrating diversity in gaming.

Website: https://gaymerx.org/

  1. Emerald City Comic Con:

Similar to other Comic Cons, Emerald City Comic Con features a gaming section that allows publishers and developers to showcase video games.

Website: https://www.emeraldcitycomiccon.com/

Some of these events cater to different aspects of the gaming industry, from indie games and retro gaming to esports and gaming culture. Be sure to research each event to determine which aligns best with your interests and goals in the video game industry.

Please note that event details and dates may change from year to year, and it’s important to check the official websites for the most up to date information before planning to attend any trade shows or conventions.

Summary of what was learned in this article about video game industry trade shows

  • Who should go to a video game trade show
  • What are the benefits of attending a gaming industry trade show
  • How do you prepare to attend a video game tradeshow
  • A list of over 15 video game trade shows to attend in the US

Common FAQs about Video Game Trade Shows

What is a video game trade show?
A video game trade show is an industry event where companies, developers, publishers, and other stakeholders in the gaming industry gather to showcase their upcoming games, products, and services. It’s an opportunity for professionals and enthusiasts to network, learn about new developments, and experience hands on gameplay.

Who can attend video game trade shows?
Video game trade shows are typically open to industry professionals, including game developers, publishers, retailers, journalists, investors, and content creators. Some trade shows also have public days, allowing gamers and enthusiasts to experience the event as well.

What happens at a video game trade show?
At a video game trade show, attendees can expect to see game demos, presentations, panels, and discussions about industry trends. Companies often unveil new game titles, technologies, and hardware. Attendees have the chance to try out upcoming games and engage in networking opportunities with fellow professionals.

Are video game trade shows only about games?
While video games are a significant focus, trade shows also cover various aspects of the gaming industry. This includes discussions about game development, marketing strategies, emerging technologies (like virtual reality and augmented reality), gaming hardware, esports, and broader industry trends.

How can I exhibit or participate in a video game trade show?
To exhibit or participate in a video game trade show, you typically need to register as an exhibitor or attendee through the event’s official website. As an exhibitor, you’ll rent booth space to showcase your products and games. As an attendee, you’ll often need to purchase a pass. It’s essential to plan ahead, prepare your presentation or booth, and network effectively to make the most of your participation.





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