Microsoft Xbox Announced at CES
January 2001 – Las Vegas, NV
Bill Gates publicly reveals the finished design of the Xbox at the CES convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, calling it “the future of gaming”. One year later, Microsoft would announce 1.5 million console sales in the first 45 days of the 2001 holiday launch period.
The First Game Developers Choice Awards
March 2001 – San Francisco, CA
A part of the GDC conference, this awards ceremony offers industry recognition for outstanding work in the video game industry.
World of Warcraft Announced at European Computer Trade Show
September 2001 – London, England
During a press conference at the European Computer Trade Show, Blizzard announced the upcoming release of World of Warcraft, a pivotal game in the rise of the MMORPG genre.
D.I.C.E Summit Debuts
February 2002 – Las Vegas, NV
The summit serves as a forum to Design, Innovate, Communicate, and Entertain for top gaming executives. Recent focuses include the art of video games and innovations in independent gaming. AIAS’s Interactive Achievement Awards would later be renamed as the D.I.C.E. Awards.
Supanova Begins Travelling Show
April 2002 – Across Australia
Supanova is a travelling Australian roadshow featuring characters from fantasy and sci fi worlds. Attendees might see giant cosplay battles or find beloved comics, games, and videos.
Microsoft Announces Xbox Live at E3
May 2002 – Los Angeles, CA
Allowing for not just computers, but consoles to have online access, Microsoft’s announcement began the online gaming interactions of popular hits like HALO and Call of Duty.
Games Convention Launches
August 2002 – Leipzig, Germany
Also known as GC or the Leipzig Games Convention, this annual event covered the best of video games in Infotainment, Hardware, and Edutainment. In its last year in 2008 it reached a peak of 203,000 attendees.
September 2002 – Alexandria, VA
MAGFest is a music and gaming festival. The event features four days dedicated to video game music, video games, and the gaming community.
The First BAFTA Games Awards
February 2003 – United Kingdom
The BAFTA Games Awards split from the BAFTA Interactive Awards, and eventually took over both awards shows by 2006. Presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts it acknowledges games in more than a dozen categories annually.
Emerald City Comicon Debuts
February 2003 – Seattle, WA
This comic based convention in the Pacific Northwest features discussion panels, various games, costumes, and comics. Gaming tournaments and gaming panels are also featured, with the event attracting 64,000 attendees in 2013.
VGX Awards Air on Spike TV
December 2003 – Spike TV and Livestream
Also known as the Spokie Video Game Awards or VGAs, this annual TV award show on Spike recognizes the best computer and video games of the year. As a true entertainment event, the broadcast also features popular performances from actors and musicians.
London Comic Con Debuts
Spring 2004 – London, UK
The European comic based convention that also focuses on cult television, anime, and gaming. Known for featuring actors from sci fi and fantasy hits like Doctor Who and Harry Potter. Special features include a video game expo, fan video expo, and Japan expo.
PAX Prime Debuts
August 2004 – Seattle, WA
The first and original in the Penny Arcade convention series, PAX celebrates a love of all things video game including consoles, handhelds, pcs, and more. With 3,300 attendees the first year, PAX Prime has since grown to over 70,000 attendees.
Fall 2005 – Culver City, CA
Dedicated to the “discovery, development, and recognition” of indie artists throughout the world, this festival works to celebrate the best of independent gaming.
BlizzCon Gatherings Begin
October 2005 – Anaheim, CA
This convention is based around Blizzard Entertainment’s popular series: Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. The con features assorted gaming and costume events followed up by headline concerts form groups like Blink-182, The Offspring, and Foo Fighters.
Screenburn Emerges at SXSW
March 2006 – Austin, TX
Added to SXSW in 2006, Screenburn emerged from SXSW Interactive as a showcase to demo video games in 20 minutes segments; acting as a showcase for the newest industry software innovations. Screenburn has since evolved into the SXSW Gaming event.
September 2006 – Vancouver, Canada
The Canadian Awards for the Electronic & Animated Arts launches, with award categories including video games, animation, and multimedia of the year.
This article is definitely worth the read for those who are interested in the history of gaming conventions and is a great look back to gaming’s big start in our lives. Big thanks to Big Fish Games for bringing this article to our attention!