[Top 10] Biggest Gaming Events in the USA (Ranked)

One Winner, One psychic, and One Angry Man

It has been argued before (by me) that in modern-day America, Gaming and Geek Events are just about as American as apple pie. Today, our goal is to reach deep into the pocket dimension that is our mind and pull out the biggest, greatest Gaming Events America has to offer. Join me on an expedition to discover the ultimate in Gamers’ Paradise, as we delve deep into the Dwemer ruins of America at far too low a level, and somehow make it out with ten Grand Soul Gems of Gaming Events.


10. LCS LOL Tour, Broadcast Nationwide

 League of Legends Summer LCS teaser trailer

League of Legends is one of the most viewed Esports games in the world, only beaten on occasion by Overwatch. The Event here is on this list because it garnered a solid 485,000+ viewers in 2020, making it a huge event that plenty of people tuned into. 

I don't play much league, I’m not good with it as my patience is… sub-par, but I know the impact the game has had on our society of game enthusiasts is unbelievable, and it deserves a spot on this list for that. 

The reason it's at number ten just happens to be because it is not a fully live event, and it is live streamed across the nation with limited live seats. Essentially, in my eyes, to be the biggest event, the live turnout must be as big as the online turnout or larger, which the League of Legends USA shows do not have. 

This list will showcase the biggest events in the USA, and frankly speaking, I wouldn’t be happy with myself if a couple of competitions didn't show up here.

The final prize is 200,000 dollars, which feels… lackluster somehow.

LCS LoL Twitter: https://twitter.com/LCSOfficial


9. Overwatch League, Broadcast Nationwide

    -Overwatch League Trailer

Overwatch League is a competition made possible by Blizzard, who frankly did something amazing, having garnered at their peak 1.1 MILLION viewers, essentially sealing their place as the topGaming Tournament and beating out League of Legends by a long shot. 

I must again remind everyone, that this is number nine because while it is a live event, it is mostly participated or viewed from home, so it doesn't make it higher than some of the events that are purely in person.

Turns out, Blizzard Entertainment knows how to entertain, almost directly opposing their entire work ethic towards changes they make in their games. Oh, I didn’t say that, and there is no red dot on my forehead, just like there is no war in Ba Sing Se.

The grand prize for the Overwatch league is $1.5 million… I would say that it beats League of Legends in the US.

Overwatch League Twitter: https://twitter.com/OverwatchLeague


8. Game Developers Con/Expo, San Francisco California

-GDC 2022 Highlights

This event is a doozy. It took some research to remember this one because it has been pretty silent since the dark times started. Oh, and the fact that it's so expensive that it's been completely off my radar. The top price ticket puts Anime Expo to absolute shame, at $2,199 it's not even a competition anymore, heck it's not even a matter of being mad, I’m just impressed they have something like this.

My only guess is that they must be targeting companies and early developers in that sweet spot, because dang. Well... now I’m officially depressed at my own financial hardships. Yearly attendance topped at 29,000 in 2019, before the dark times.

Ok, let's do more of that sad stuff and look at the list of ticket types and prices:

  • The expo ticket stands at $349, more expensive than the top tier badge at Anime Expo. You get access to basic things like the expo and certain special events
  • Expo Plus is a startling $399, and the only add-on is sponsored content, whatever that means.
  • The Summits pass is a jump up, majorly. At $1,149 I am starting to remember why I wanted to forget this expo. You get access to basics and Summit sessions and virtual attendee networking.
  • The Core Pass is again, a jump. It sits at $1,749 and just… wow. This step up from Summits permits access to the Core Concepts sessions.
  • The All-access pass is the big one, the depressinator, and frankly just painful to read about. You get access to everything the core pass gives you, plus one thing… 1-year of GDC vault Access.

Essentially… It's audio, slides, and videos from the entire event. Yep, all that stuff you saw at the event, you can see again. I feel cheated just hearing about this, but it must be worthwhile right? My economics teacher wouldn't lie about how companies are bound to act right? If it wasn't profitable, they wouldn't sell it, right?

Right. If they sell even one of these, they've begun making their money back. None of it is physical capital, so they aren't losing anything by selling it, because they only have set sunk costs for production every year. 

Alright, let's move on already before I depress myself deeper into my hole.

GDC Twitter: https://twitter.com/Official_GDC


7. Origins Game Fair, Columbus Ohio

-Origins Game Fair Exhibition of the Exhibit Hall

Origins Game Fair is a great time, mostly a wonderful little show that has a good focus on tabletop game events. The events they have are all pre-register type deals, where if you want to participate, you need to get your seat early by registering online. 

They stand at a somewhat decent attendance of 15,000 people, which makes them lower to mid-tier, but keeps them out of the wonderland of low attendance cons. We can take a quick peek at their ticket types, so don't touch that x-button, this one’s a good-un:

  • Wednesday badge-$30
  • All other one day badges-$45
  • Child 12 and under badge-Free
  • Full show badge Wednesday to Sunday-$95
  • Card badge(Allows entry to TCG events and exhibit hall only)-$50
  • Very Important Gamer badge(Access to V.I.G. lounge and exclusive events, early access to all, and swag bag from sponsors with a V.I.G. shirt.)-$250

Well well well. Looks like this might be the most worthwhile one yet. The stuff available with the different passes sounds fun enough, but that premium pass… ouch, my wallet and my heart ache. It truly is the kind of event you save for over time, and make it the big thing of that part of the year. Maybe I should start asking if I can start getting birthday money again.

Creators of the Origins Game Fair Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheGDEX


6. Playstation Experience, Las Vegas Nevada

-A trailer for the first PSX ever

Playstation is a staple for most American households. If you don't have a PS4-5 you likely have a PS2 or 3, as most Americans have owned and played at least some format of Playstation console. I am reminded of fond memories of my PSP, with tears in my eyes as I remember lost ROM data for Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. Rest in peace, my old friend. If you happen to have none of these things, I look like a dingus and you are a very rare flower my friend.

Ah, back on track now. Attendance stands at a typical 22,000 people, which is fairly mid-tier for a convention, which could be surprising. Let's look at ticket prices to determine whether or not it's another case of GDC syndrome:

  • Guest Ticket to reception-$65
  • Basic and non-member half day workshop-$245
  • Premium member half day workshop-$195
  • One day pass premium member-$395
  • Premium member full day workshop-$495
  • One day basic or non-member-$495
  • Basic member and non-member full day workshop-$545
  • Basic member and nonmember registration-$995
  • Premium member registration-$895
  • That was the ADVANCE price registration. The registration after august is… scary.
  • Premium member registration-$895
  • Basic and non-member registration-$1,095
  • One day premium member-$495
  • One day basic and nonmember registration-$595
  • Premium half day workshop-$245
  • Basic and non-member half day workshop-$295
  • Premium full day workshop-$545
  • Basic and non-member member full day workshop-$595
  • Guest ticket to reception-$75

And that's all folks. An absolute unit of a list, plenty of options to choose from, and a few of them are actually viable for anyone that isn't a game developing team. Ok, it's official, the biggest best events aren't exactly meant for the little guy, more so leaned toward the corporate market. It's ok though, cause there are some really cool events left for us to check out.

Playstation Twitter: https://twitter.com/playstation


5. Gen Con, Indianapolis Indiana

-Gen Con Intro Video

Gen Con is all about the tabletop nerd empire, with artists bringing up the rear in their artist’s alley. It's about dang time we saw some love for board games too! During 2019, as with most events, this event was at its peak, with 70,000 attendees. The weekend lasts 4 days and is packed full of fun stuff, with pretty decently priced tickets that don’t have a “special access only” type of event… wait… is that what I think it is?

Yep, it's a ticket over $200 for special access to the ‘Trade Day’ event. I hope to God you get full access to all of the con for that price, but I’ve seen it done before, so my hopes aren’t high. Here’s the ticket info guys, wake me up when I can afford it:

  • 4-day badge-$125
  • Thursday badge-$65
  • Friday badge-$65
  • Saturday badge-$80
  • Sunday badge-$16
  • Trade day badge-$225

Well, that's that, but to determine whether it's worth the price of admission, let's look at a couple of big events at the con:

  • Ah, it appears I must publicly eat my shoe, as Trade Day is an education day for Trades as in professions.
  • Film festival
  • POC social mixer
  • Live concerts
  • Block party
  • Gen con dance
  • Cardhalla
  • A quiet room (Introvert/Neurodivergent safe haven)

All this is great, and it appears that if you aren't a teacher or educator, you have no reason to buy a trade day badge, which is good news for those of us just interested in the con!

Gen Con Twitter: https://twitter.com/gen_con


4. PAX East, Boston Massachusetts

-PAX East Intro Video

Is PAX East the greatest convention? No, but it gets dang close, as it happens to be on a lot of smaller youtubers’ “Maybe Someday” lists. The basics of PAX are that it is a gathering spot for influencers and celebrities who want to network, and the afterparties are famous, or rather notorious at PAX East. PAX is pretty frankly a big name in the industry, with a lot of followers and a large attendance number, about 70,000 people finding their way to the event.

When we look towards ticket prices, how might one react? Will the name ‘PAX’ be enough to quell my growing rage? Let's find out:

  • Single day badge-$62
  • 4 day badge-$235

I am conflicted. A four day pass that isn’t really discounted is ok I suppose, and $62 for a single day at one of the biggest events of the year is also not terrible… I suppose I’m just built to be upset because I’m broke. Right, there's a bit to say about PAX East. Beyond being a meeting spot for influencers, it's also a pretty great place for games, as its main draw is its Games Announcements, wherein we get quite a few first looks at triple-A titles and indie games alike. People attend PAX East not only to meet their favorite Youtuber but also to add to the hype train of upcoming releases.

PAX Twitter: https://twitter.com/pax


3. E3, Los Angeles California

-E3 2019 Nintendo Direct

Held in the Los Angeles Convention Center, this is a monster of a gaming expo. The focus of this expo will always be front and center, gaming and game announcement central, with arguably a bigger industry name than PAX. I decided it belonged as a top-tier event, and as we all know, everything you read on the internet is totally accurate, no matter what.

Let's start by looking at the entry price. Well, for a basic ticket, you pay $165, and for the upgraded version you jump up to $995. That's right. You go up about 8 times in cost for special access. Here's what that extra cash gets you:

  • First access to the games on the show floor, a day early
  • Priority access, no lines for games
  • VIP entrance
  • Quiet lounge
  • Merch discounts
  • Two free meals a day

Too bad that the early access is worthless, as the first day is when media and industry specialists get in for free, and if you have media credentials, you get in free anyways. This badge is not for those of us who would want early access, it's just a perk to go along with the businessmen who are here on company dime. The food sounds decent though.

E3 Twitter: https://twitter.com/E3


2. PAX West, Seattle Washington

-Pax West 2021 Tour Video

Here we are again, but this time, we get a bit bigger. PAX West is like E3 and PAX East had some weird but cool love-child and it grew up to be more famous than its celeb parents, like a weird Miley Cyrus type deal.

In any case, it’s popular, over 120,000 attendees popular, and it shows in just how viral this thing gets every time it comes around. Videos flood the interwebs every time PAX season starts up, and it’s always centered around PAX West.

This entire thing is great, pretty much just PAX East but more popular, and it costs the same as well. Here are the price tags on those tickets:

  • 4 day badge-$235
  • All single day badges-$62
  • BYOC badge-$45

That's new, what is a BYOC? Oh, bring your own computer! That sounds… lame. I would at least expect a PAX program to be a Games Corner where the computers are provided. Ok, that's fine, but what bothers me is that it's more than half the cost of the one day ticket, and it doesn't give you any access to the event itself, you need the two badges!

Ah, forget it, I’m done being upset at high prices. Next up is a dream convention, let's have fun talking about it.

PAX Twitter: https://twitter.com/pax


1. DreamHack, USA Location Varies

-DreamHack 2019 Intro Video

This is a big ole whale in a sea of minnows and octopi. All told, in 2019 the total attendance was over 300,000, an impressive figure that is gonna be tough to beat. They host tournaments for everything from League of Legends to Starcraft 2. When we look at the attendance, it is surprisingly in contrast with ticket prices, because oh boy. About $250 for a day, and up to $550 for three days.

DreamHack will be making its way to Atlanta Georgia soon, and tickets will be available in September. If you ask me, this event is one of those “I’m only going to do this once in my lifetime” things that every Esports fan should be trying to work towards. They also have an area set aside for noncompetitors to play, with the best of the best PCs and what some would say is the fastest wifi they’ve ever experienced. Look forward to this one, because it's a dreamland for gamers who want to experience a blissful release from low framerates.

DreamHack Twitter: https://twitter.com/DreamHack

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Sam is a scholar from the high hills of MidYork, wherein he spent many years developing his love for literature and gaming excellence. Have faith, ye fallen Brethren, greatness is approaching!
Gamer Since: 2009
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Elden Ring
Top 3 Favorite Games:DOOM, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Far Cry 4

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