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BlizzCon, QuakeCon, and SOE face off

It's a three-way free-for-all this weekend, as a trio of top PC game publishers hold simultaneous fan events in Anaheim, Dallas, and Vegas.


Even with the PC Game On event on an indefinite hiatus, PC gamers still have three major online gaming conventions to look forward to this year. Unfortunately, getting to them all may be a bit of an issue, as BlizzCon, QuakeCon, and the SOE Fan Faire are all happening this weekend.

BlizzCon's front door.
BlizzCon's front door.

Bolstered by its 9 million-player-strong World of Warcraft base, Blizzard's semiannual community event leads the convention circuit, taking place today and tomorrow in Anaheim, California. QuakeCon and the Sony Online Entertainment Fan Faire both opened their doors yesterday and will run through August 5 in Dallas, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada, respectively.

As the developer of several of the most popular gaming franchises in the world, Blizzard's BlizzCon event is expected to draw massive crowds from its massive and loyal fan base. While not typically associated with claustrophobia, the spacious Anaheim Convention Center has been descended upon by human hordes filing in shoulder to shoulder to compete in tournaments both competitive and casual, as well as to strut around in their cosplay garb, listen in on developer panels, and get the latest details on upcoming Blizzard products such as Starcraft 2, which will be playable at the event. As part of this year's grab bag of goodies for attendees, Blizzard has promised World of Warcraft in-game loot, as well as a beta key for an upcoming Blizzard product.

That "product" is likely World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion to Blizzard's massively multiplayer online sensation sensation World of Warcraft. Following two high-profile leaks, Blizzard vice president wasted little time unveiling the add-on this morning concurrent with its official Web site going online.

Blizzard archrival Sony Online Entertainment will be hosting its own fan appreciation event this weekend at the Rio casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Held annually since 2003, the SOE Fan Faire offers players the chance to park their digital avatars for a weekend and venture out into the real world to meet and greet like-minded players as well as members of the SOE development team. As with BlizzCon, the SOE Fan Faire features panel discussions, cosplay contests, game-themed events, and more.

Hoping to trump the furor stirred up by Blizzard's newly announced WOW expansion, SOE president John Smedley will be announcing a brand-new online game tonight during the SOE Fan Faire Community Address, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Pacific. SOE currently has recently added several MMOG's to its burgeoning stable, including it's internally developed stealth action persistent online shooter The Agency as well as the recently acquired Vanguard: Saga of Heroes from Sigil Games and Flying Lab's Pirates of the Burning Sea.

The Carmack holds court at QuakeCon 2006.
The Carmack holds court at QuakeCon 2006.

Rounding out the trifecta and occurring in tandem with SOE's event is id Software's fragfest QuakeCon. Now in its 12th season, QuakeCon returns to the first-person shooter capital of the world--Dallas, Texas--for its yearly tribute to id Software's seminal shooter franchises. More than 6,000 FPS fiends are descending upon Dallas' Hilton Anatole Hotel with their PCs in tow to take part in what's billed as the world's largest LAN party. A number of tournaments will also be held during the event, including the first ever featuring Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and this year's QuakeCon Championship Tournament clocks in at a cool $100,000, courtesy of event sponsor Nvidia.

Tonight, id cofounder and technical director John Carmack will take the stage with id CEO Todd Hollenshead to deliver the QuakeCon keynote address. Some expect the duo to reveal id's first game featuring the id Tech 5 engine, an announcement many thought would occur at this year's E3 Media & Business Summit.

Check back with GameSpot for more announcements and revelations from all three events.

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