Why Gaming Events Need To Move Beyond The Major Cities

Why Gaming Events Need To Move Beyond The Major Cities

Ever wish you could go to E3, PAX, GamesCom, and other gaming shows? So have I, but you know, air travel can be pretty expensive sometimes. So this week we’re going to look at why gaming events need to move beyond the major cities. As you might know, most gaming events are held in major cities.

This makes some degree of sense as major cities tend to have more people in them by definition. But in reality, there are more people in all of the non-major cities combined than there are in all of the major cities combined. According to an article on City Mayors, as of 2012, the top 100 cities in the U.S. combined to a total of 61,325,698 people. Wikipedia’s USA article has a 2016 estimated total population of the country at 323,127,513 people. That means that there are 261,801,815 more people outside of the top 100 U.S. cities than in them. To put that in perspective consider this pie chart.

As you can see, non-major cities represent a much higher portion of the country’s population. Therefore, publishers, developers, retailers, etc. can reach a much larger base of gamers by occasionally adventuring outside of the major cities for gaming shows. Take for example the area I live in. While Hampton Roads isn’t technically one city, in terms of metro size it can be theoretically considered one. The population according to Wikipedia for the metro area is 1,724,876. That’s 37th in metro area rankings, but if HR was all one city, it’d be high enough to rank #5 on City Mayors list of top 100 cities, beating out cities like Philadelphia, San Antonio, Boston, Seattle, and more (all of which have a gaming show or shows) in their area.

And this is just one area of the country. What about the Midwest (outside of Texas) or the South (again outside of Texas)? There are little to no major gaming shows in either of these areas that I’m aware of. Perhaps a smaller comic/anime/etc convention, but nothing major. So while I don’t think all major shows should permanently abandon the big cities because that wouldn’t be wise, I think it wouldn’t hurt to alternate from year-to-year. So for example, E3 could be in LA this year and maybe I don’t know Knoxville, TN the next. It’s close enough to major cities like Memphis & Nashville, but also relatively close to non-major cities/towns like Boone, NC, Norton, VA, Williamsburg, KY, etc.

Will this happen? I doubt it, but it’s nice to think about and I hope that someday it might. I also wouldn’t be opposed to the Entertainment Software Association and the like holding smaller shows throughout the rest of the year in other parts of the country other than major cities. Penny Arcade & Reed Exhibitions have a decent idea kind of along these lines, though their shows (PAX) are still only in major cities as far as I know. It’d be nice to see some non-major cities see some gaming shows one of these days.

What do you think? Do you think gaming shows should stick to the major cities? Should they come to smaller cities/towns? Would it be better or worse to have smaller shows for non-major cities? Let us know in the comments below.

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Image: Wikipedia

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