Gaming conventions are large gatherings of gaming enthusiasts that focuses on video games, collectible card games, board games, role playing games or other types of games. Similar to a trade show but geared more towards hobbyists and the companies that support them.
Video game events have a history dating back more than forty years according to BigFish Games. Video game events like the Electronic Entertainment Expo have been known to make huge waves in the industry and gives developers a platform to display upcoming products to a large audience. They also give fans a first time look at their upcoming favorites and sometimes even a hands on experience.
People will often dress as and role play as their favorite characters at gaming conventions. Often this live action role play takes place during the entire event. You will commonly see attendees, in full costume, playing games and attending conferences.
In a similar way to video game events, board game conventions provide an outlet for developers and players to get together and share ideas. Independent game designers get a chance to share their creation with the public and get real time feedback. Established companies get to build hype on their new products and answer questions about fan favorites. Game cons are a great place to meet new people with similar interests.
Gaming conventions are typically about 2-3 days long, and are often held in convention centers, hotel conference halls, or on a college campus. Some game cons can be rather small in attendance and some have been extraordinarily large. Comic con and E3 events commonly have thousands in attendance over the weekend.