Europe is home to several truly impressive video game companies. Whether you’re a fan of the big studios like Polish developer CD Projekt or a fan of the indies like the UK’s Mike Bithell or the Netherlands’ Vlambeer, Europe has a lot to offer the world of video games. As a result, it’s little surprise that the continent is also home to some of the best gaming events in the world. If you can’t make it to America for E3 this year, don’t worry because all is not lost – here are some of the top gaming events in Europe this year, and what you need to bring with you.
Indievelopment – May 23rd 2016
If you can make it over to the Netherlands this May, make sure you stop by the Zijdebalen Theater in Utrecht for Indievelopment. The Independent Game Development Conference 2016 (Indievelopment for short) is one of the best places to go if you want to see what the celebrities of the indie scene are up to this year. With a great selection of guest speakers and for the first time ever, an indie workshop taught by industry experts, this event is a must for anyone deep in the indie scene.
Develop Brighton – July 12th-14th 2016
Now in its tenth year, Develop Brighton is a must for anyone looking to see what the game devs are up to after E3. Neil Young (N3twork) and Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) have both been confirmed as the Keynote speakers, which is always a good sign. If you’re looking for a great videogame event with almost 2000 developers on the Great British seaside, make sure you stop by Develop Brighton this year.
GDC Europe – August 3rd-4th 2016
GDC, the Game Developers Conference is one of the biggest gaming events in the world, and is certainly the biggest professionals-only industry event in Europe. Held in Cologne in conjunction with Gamescom (two weeks later and next on our list), GDC is one of the most important, most inspirational and most educational events you can head to if you’re working in the industry. If you’re just a fan looking to get in on the action, don’t worry about not being able to get in – we’ll be covering the full event here at Gamasutra this August.
Gamescom – August 17th 2016
Gamescom is to the consumer what GDC is to the game developer. With 345,000 visitors last year coming to see the 500+ exhibitors from around the world, there’s little doubt that Gamescom is the biggest game event in the world. This year’s motto “The Next Level of Entertainment” certainly looks like it will be living up to its name.
EGX – September 22nd-25th 2016
The last major European game conference this year is, of course, EGX. Previously known as the Eurogamer Expo, this massive event is running a little differently these days, swapping venues with the smaller event, Rezzed, in April. If you make it up to Birmingham for EGX this September you’re in for the biggest EGX to date, with more than 1500 screens shoeing off more games than you can shake a stuck at. With a huge list of games to play and guest speakers to learn from, there is plenty on at EGX 2016.
What to bring with you if you’re going to any of these events
Well the first thing you’re going to need if you’re heading to any of these events is obviously going to be your passport – not only are you going to be heading overseas but you’re going to need photo ID when you pick up your wristbands. Along with your passport you’re going to need your EHIC – that’s just good practice if you’re traveling around the continent, and it allows you to enjoy the expos without worrying about tripping over the cosplay.
Next you’re going to want to bring as many handhold consoles as you think you’re going to play. The Nintendo 3DS works well here, turning long queues into a chance to catch up on your hundreds of 10 StreetPasses, though if you’re after playing something a little flashier, the Vita is always a bonus. Just be aware that while there is often free Wi-Fi at these events, the connection is patchy at best. If you were planning on playing something like Hearthstone on your iPad while you wait, you might struggle without tethering your device to your phone.