As another introduction to Australian and New Zealand gaming, here’s a brief rundown of the major conventions and expos developers can attend.
Festivals of all sorts are a huge part of the culture of fandom in both Australia and New Zealand, and there are no shortage of options for those looking to eke out a fan base here in pretty much any city in either country.
While it was the likes of EB Expo and PAX Australia which really drew global attention to shows from the region, this not-at-all exhaustive list of shows should provide a starting point for making choices regarding how best to connect with fans down under.
Armageddon Expo – Year round
Armageddon is one of the oldest shows in the region, starting in 1995 in Auckland and branching out to other New Zealand cities from 2001. It is now the premiere pop culture expo in New Zealand, with shows in every major city in the country, and now has one of its standout shows in Melbourne. It is a huge event where its major shows are concerned, reaching over 60’000 atendees at its Auckland show in 2013, and grew from a focus on sci-fi and comics into pop culture more generally, including games, in recent years.
AVCon – July
AVCon is a single annual anime and videogame convention held each year in Adelaide, South Australia and boasting almost 20’000 atendees. It runs tournaments, card games, eSports events, multilplayer and indie gaming sections, and is in general a very hands-on experience. It’s been running since 2002, and takes place in mid-year.
Digital NatioNZ – September
A very new show, but one dedicated exclusively to digital entertainment, Digital NatioNZ took place last year at the Vector Arena in Auckland and drew in some 7000+ atendees. It’s been renewed for a second year, and is set to take place at the same venue in September of this year.
EB Expo – October
The EB Expo grew out of the EB Games Australia vendor shows, utilising the existing stands to blow the show out into a huge retail trade fair. It started up at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in 2011, then jumped to the Sydney Showgrounds from 2012, and boasts a massive publisher and Triple A presence, as well as some 30’000+ atendees per show.
Oz Comic Con – Year round
A broad pop-culture convention, Oz Comic Con has spread out to most major capital cities in Australia. It has a big focus on guest appearances and opportunities for fan signings from popular TV shows. It isn’t a videogame focused show, but developers are more than welcome and it manages to pull significant numbers (27’000+ in Perth last year).
PAX Australia – November
Perhaps one of the most significant boosts to the viability of large scale conventions being held down under was the inaugural PAX Australia, being the first time the massive brand had held an event outside the United States. It draws tens of thousands of atendees at each US show, and Melbourne 2013 was no different. It rides again closer to the Christmas window this year, and is only going to grow.
Supanova Pop Culture Expo – Year round
Major game publishers haven’t been strangers to Supanova’s many shows over the years, but smaller developers seldom appear at the popular show, which has graced most major Australian cities since kicking off in Sydney in 2002. Its closest competitor is Oz Comic Con, with both reaching similar cities and audiences, and it covers the gamut of pop culture from gaming to collectibles and card games.