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Published on July 19th, 2014 | by gareth

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The Growing Presence of Gaming Only Makes The San Diego Comic Con Even More Appealing And Important

What is for my money correctly billed as the largest Pop Culture event on the Planet, Comic Con International or as it is also known, San Diego Comic Con is an event of epic proportions. Not only do you have upwards of 150,000 fans scrambling for tickets and perhaps the largest collection of vendors, artists, and cosplay assembled, but the event has grown to not only require upgrades to the convention center, but has spilled over to nearby hotels, stadiums, and several blocks.

With the rise of many popular conventions in other states, San Diego remains elite as it is simply the largest collection of talent assembled. It would be impossible to make all the events that are going on, but the number of A list television and film stars alone is staggering. They come to promote their new shows, films, and projects and with the eyes of the world upon them, they often have an appearance at this event written into their contracts by studios.

I have had the good fortune to cover the event for several years now, and each year the show keeps getting bigger and offering a wider range of options for those in attendance.

If you are not one who wants to wait in line for panels for hours at a time, some chose to pick panels last min that may have an open seat in the back or concentrate on the activities in the main floor and in the venues surrounding the convention center.

I can tell you that the main floor alone has plenty to keep a person busy as there are scores of booths with vendors, artwork, memorabilia, movie props, and some great costumes that it is easy to see why this event is king.

When I first covered the show, I remember seeing Sony, Activision, and a couple smaller game companies on hand, showing off their pending titles. Sony was showing off the Move controller and some Star Wars games, Activision had a new Spider-man game to tout, and that was pretty much it.

In recent years, Capcom showed off Lost Planet 3, Resident Evil 6, and others, and Sega took up residence across the street to show off their new games.

Every year more and more gaming came into the mix, from Nintendo setting up a suite in a nearby hotel to one company setting up an inflatable gaming area in a park next to the Convention Center.  The rise of gaming has been notable and some have said it was like the early days of the shows when Hollywood took notice and started to arrive.

In 2013 I saw Nintendo, Capcom, Warner Bros, Sony, Microsoft, Konami, and others in attendance with several others either sharing space or branding their titles such as an interesting Mad Max display that allowed you to shoot a video while driving Max’s Interceptor. I also liked the Pirate ship that was anchored to promote AC 4 with a shaving company. This year we get an AC themed obstacle course.

As the 2014 approaches, I have already had Microsoft, Nintendo, Deep Silver, 2K Games, Namco, Warner Bros, Sega, and others confirm their presence at the show. Some such as 2K are being very clever with their plans as they will offer a Borderlands themed Laser Tag event at Petco Park in connection with The Nerdist to promote the games.

Others have said that while they are not in attendance officially they will have their new and pending games on display at Microsoft and Nintendo for all to see.

To me this is just smart business as fans of film and television will include many gamers and with so many people in attendance, and so many people around the world following the events, it only natural to see this evolution. Microsoft and other companies have game themed panels now and as anyone has been on the floor will tell you, the game booths draw plenty of attention.

While purists who bemoaned the arrival of Hollywood en masse to the event, the arrival of game companies as a larger presence has mainly been one that has been met with acceptance by the masses, as it is seen as an important part of the growing Pop Culture experience.

For people like myself, it is a nice opportunity between E3, Gamescom, and PAX Prime to get in even more game coverage as we would already be there covering the events and it is nice to get some coverage without as many gaming publications around competing for time. Although I expect this to change in the coming years, it is nice to be able to see the San Diego Comic Con continue to grow and offer and increasingly wider range of options to their already massive and impressive lineup.


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