The Dallas-Fort Worth area has had a rich history with the video game industry for decades, but the metroplex has spent a recent chunk of time positioning itself as one of the hottest spots for esports in the U.S. So it makes sense that Dallas has attracted one of the biggest names in esports events overseas: DreamHack.
DreamHack’s organizers call it the “world’s largest digital festival,” and the moniker fits. It’s not just a giant tournament, although you’ll find plenty of competition there for hit games like Street Fighter V, Madden, Rocket League, Brawl Stars and Halo. The event, which will take place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center May 31-June 2, also sports live music, art, movie screenings, student showcases, game jams and more, not to mention panels, meetups and networking opportunities for the more business-minded folks.
If you want to camp out with like-minded gamers for the entire three-day event, you’ll need a ticket to the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer). There, nearly 1,600 people will connect to the same LAN (Local Area Network) to play games all day and night. Have a favorite game that you want to focus on? The BYOC has several rows dedicated to competitive hits like Fortnite, Overwatch and the Dallas-developed Quake Champions.
The BYOC admittedly is not a foreign concept to the Dallas area, as we’ve hosted QuakeCon here for more than 20 years. There, though, Quake and its publisher’s other titles clearly take the center stage, whereas DreamHack can be more agnostic. Besides, can you really have too many epic video game parties?
While its stateside expansion isn’t brand new, DreamHack is still widely recognized by gamers as a popular event in Europe. Since it began in Sweden in 1994, the event has toured through France, Spain, Germany, Romania and other countries, attracting millions of video game fans along the way. The festival made its North American debut in Austin in 2016, followed by stops in Denver and Atlanta.
DreamHack planting a flag in our soil is a big next step in Dallas-Fort Worth’s continued growth as an esports hub. Arlington recently opened the doors to its own Esports Stadium, where fans have been able to watch Overwatch League matches featuring our hometown team, the Dallas Fuel. This month, Complexity Gaming (in which Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and real estate mogul John Goff have a majority stake) opened its new HQ, the GameStop Performance Center, at The Star in Frisco.
"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 press release. "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 U.S. yet."
Ticket prices for DreamHack vary, but if you just want to dip your toe into the experience you can start with a single-day pass for $37.
Correction at 10:49 a.m.: An earlier version of this story said that the Dallas Fuel played their first homestand games at the Esports Stadium Arlington. Those matches actually took place at the Allen Event Center.