Gaming Conventions In Asia – A Full List
Kevin Larsen, Chief Editor
In the early 21st century, being a gamer outside Europe and North America used to feel like a lonesome adventure in a neglected part of the world.
But luckily, as time went by, we started seeing fast growth and prosperity all over the world’s largest continent. Nowadays, several annual gaming conventions are scattered across Asia, from Saudi Arabia to Japan.
Aussies and Kiwis, be on the lookout, too, because many of the conventions we’ll talk about aren’t that far off from you! So anyway, let’s take a look at the biggest gaming conventions in major regions in Asia.
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For Western Asian conventions, we’ll look at those in Bahrain, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain: NINXA, Manama and Sakhir
Although NINXA’s events aren’t exclusive to gaming conventions, they’ve held a few, such as the Bahrain Anime Convention (BANICON) Gaming Realm and The First Summoning, both in Manama.
Sakhir has also seen a few notable conventions such as the AFK Phenomena for PC and console games tournaments, and SaikoroWars, a board games convention.
Iraq: Ziggurat Con, Nasiriyah
Famous for being the only RPG convention held in a war zone, Ziggurat Con was organized by US Army soldiers in Camp Adder to boost the morale of US soldiers and Iraqi citizens.
Although Ziggurat Con isn’t exclusive for video games, it still has sections for RPGs. Apart from that, there is a mini-theater for role-playing games with pens and papers, a ping pong room, and an anime theater.
Saudi Arabia: Gamers’ Day, Riyadh
The Saudi capital city of Riyadh is host to one of the biggest annual gaming conventions in the gulf region, Gamers’ Day, which started in 2008 and then snowballed. It’s not rare these years to see upwards of 60,000 people attending Gamers’ Day every September.
Because it has high attendance, Gamers’ Day hosts huge tournaments for popular games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, and FIFA.
East Asia is perhaps the richest part of Asia in terms of gaming conventions, with huge crowds in the three gaming giants of the continent: China, Japan, and South Korea.
China: ChinaJoy, Shanghai
ChinaJoy, also known as China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, usually takes place every year in July and has seen a record attendance of 365,000 people in 2019. However, we don’t know the number of visitors in 2020 and 2021 since they’ve not been published.
Moreover, ChinaJoy is a haven for companies willing to show off their prototypes. For instance, Chinese giants like Tencent, NetEase, Sony, and TapTap see crowds flooding to test their products in this convention.
And although ChinaJoy is primarily a mobile gaming convention, they’ve been adding PC and console games to their repertoire recently.
China: PAX GC Play, Guangzhou
PAX is a famous convention in the USA and Australia, but since 2017, it has expanded to Guangzhou, China, with its GC Play convention.
PAX GC Play is held every November at the Poly World Trade Center. It’s organized by the same team that organizes the American and Australian events, so don’t be afraid of a drop in quality.
Japan: Tokyo Game Show, Chiba
The main focus in the Tokyo Game Show is allowing Japanese developers to showcase their games, but there are some international game developers here as well.
Despite the name, the Tokyo Game Show is held in Chiba every year in September. It has an impressive record attendance of just under 300,000 people in 2018.
South Korea: G-Star, Busan
The giant gaming convention G-Star has been taking place every November since 2009. In 2019, it saw a record attendance of 244,000, and then came the COVID pandemic hit.
The focus in G-Star is on South Korean game developers and their products, but you’ll also find popular foreign developers like Activision Blizzard.
We can’t ignore gaming havens in the Philippines, even if it’s not as well-established as their East Asian counterparts.
The Philippines: Philippine Game Festival, Manila
The FGP is organized by the Game Developers Association of the Philippines every year in October or November and sees the largest gathering of gamers and game developers in the area.
They also hold the Game On Challenge event, which is all about college students competing for awards.
The FGP isn’t held in the same venue every year, so be sure to check their schedule and venue before you attend.