First Look: The ‘World’s Largest Digital Festival’ DreamHack is Coming to Dallas in 2019

From esports to cosplay to LAN, DreamHack has anything you can imagine for the digital generation. The 2019 festival and arena experience is expected to be the largest U.S. footprint yet — and, it's going to be in Dallas.

Esports. Live music. Cosplay competitions. Hackathons. BYOC LAN parties. Super-fast Streaming. DreamHack — which bills itself as the “world’s largest digital festival” — has it all. But, for the first time, it is going to have even more, combining its digital festival and esports arena experiences to create what it calls its biggest North American event gamers have ever seen — and, it’s going to be in Dallas.

DreamHack is a Swedish production that specializes in all things digital entertainment. Its events are known around the globe — seriously, the Guinness Book of Records recognizes DreamHack as having the world’s fastest Internet connection — that attract over 300,000 people annually. But, DreamHack is going even bigger for its inaugural event in the Big D, hosting a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario with the festival and the CORSAIR DreamHack Masters playoffs all in one weekend.

[Photo: DreamHack/Gabriel Kulig]

The full-scale three-day event, from May 31 to June 2, 2019, will be centered around the core fan favorites of all worldwide DreamHack events. With the festival housed in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and the tournament portion of the weekend taking place in the arena next door, the pairing is considered to be the “ultimate gaming and esports experience.”

“Dallas is, for me, a city well known for its many sports teams and being a central hub for esports as well in the state of Texas but also for the whole of the U.S,” DreamHack CEO Marcus Lindmark said in a statement. “The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is an inspiring venue, and we are positive that it will help us create an even better event for our North American visitors with the biggest footprint in the US yet.”

[Photo: DreamHack/Adela Sznajder]

The festival experience

In the past, DreamHack festivals have been held in Denver, Atlanta, and 2018’s Austin. Although they’re leaving the Texas capitol, DreamHack said they wanted to still be a part of the “strong esports community in Texas.”

TAKE THE PHOTO TOUR: The World’s Largest Digital Festival is Coming to Dallas, DreamHack

The world-famous festival experience is open 24 hours a day (yep, attendees can even sleep on-site) for three days, and is jam-packed with events designed for the digital generation. The focus is on interactive activities and gaming, where digital natives can compete, mingle, and celebrate all things Internet-related. Fans will be able to enjoy a lot, but a taste of events includes:

  • BYOC LAN Party: The bring-your-own-computer local area network party is where attendees can bring their own gaming gear to play with friends in-person. And, fun fact, the concept is how DreamHack got started.

    [Photo: DreamHack/Ole Sollie]

  • Esports: Games, tournaments, and circuits vary depending on the festival, but at each one both professional and amateur video gamers are invited to compete.
  • DreamExpo: The show floor features everything from technology demos, to indie games, to job requirements, to company booths.
  • Hackathons & Game Jams: In 36 hours, participants can use new tech, APIs, and other coding to create a game or fulfill an objective.
  • Cosplay: To celebrate artistic ingenuity and creativity, dress up as your favorite character for the chance to win the cosplay competition.

[Photo: DreamHack/Emma Andersson]

The full-on arena experience

Since 2016, the DreamHack Masters concept has brought together 16 of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams for a large-scale arena tournament — and the chance to win $250,000. The Masters has only been held on U.S. soil one other time in Vegas, and the Dallas version will be titled: CORSAIR DreamHack Masters.

[Photo: DreamHack/Jennika Ojala]

The Dallas Masters intends to focus on the experiences of both the in-person viewers and those that are online streaming or watching a broadcast. For the tournament, top-tier esports enthusiasts were invited based on merit, while others underwent a qualifying process. For the Dallas version, the 16 teams will compete beforehand on a closed-to-public group stage, with the top six then advancing to the actual three-day event.

“This event is a new event for the city of Dallas, which has many ties to the e-sports and gaming world,” Monica Paul, executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission, said in a statement. “We are happy to present three-days of esports tournaments, cosplay and live music for gaming and digital fans.”

What exactly is DreamHack?

Founded in 1994, DreamHack is a part of digital entertainment group MTG. With festivals hosted throughout Europe and North America, DreamHack was a part of pioneering esports, and remains one of the largest esports producers in the world.

While the Dallas event isn’t until 2019, tickets ranging from $30 to $575 will go on sale on Dec. 12.

Take the Photo Tour

Click on the image below for an around-the-world glimpse at past DreamHack experiences, or to simply fuel your excitement for 2019.

[Photos Courtesy of DreamHack. Click through to the gallery for photographers.]

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