DreamHack Melbourne – Welcome to your new home.

DreamHack Melbourne 2023, Australia’s premier esports tournament and gaming convention, smashed all of my expectations as it returned for its second year. After attending last year’s event for just a singular day, I was grateful at the time. But this year I had the opportunity to stay for the entire weekend and left wanting even more.

This time, only 6 months after DreamHack 2022, the event expanded its offerings and placed a much broader focus on content creators and panels, which added an inviting community focus to the overall experience. The addition of an Artist Alley, more community panels, and a creator hub were warmly welcomed enhancements to the event. Personally, I am particularly grateful to see artists receiving a spotlight at gaming events, as we witnessed previously at The Game Expo and now at DreamHack. It is my hope that the largest event of the year, PAX Australia, takes note of this and eventually follows suit. Art is an integral part of the culture and community surrounding video games, and it is essential to support the talented artists in Australia.

DreamHack Melbourne excelled in making the event accessible to all gaming enthusiasts – not just the esports bros (sorry esports fans, I mean that with love). While the convention continued to feature exciting esports tournaments, it went above and beyond by offering an array of engaging activities beyond competitive gaming. Free-to-play arcade games and live demos allowed attendees to get hands on with impressive hardware and even copies of the yet to be released counter-strike 2. The venue of the event also made it ideal for families – it was roomy, had a great outdoor area and plenty of room to rest.

The creator hub was a notable highlight – at any hour through the event you could see your favourite Australian creators streaming live from the event, hosting meet and greets, presenting on panels about creating content and even teaching people how to use streaming software and hardware in an open learning space at the hub. It was also a great opportunity for these creators to network – something that feels difficult at more intense, high stress events like PAX – whether on the expo floor or in the creator lounge.

Cosplayers brought their A-game to the event, showcasing incredible creativity and craftsmanship. Everywhere you turned on Saturday and Sunday, you were greeted by your favourite gaming, anime, and pop culture characters brought to life. The inclusion of cosplay competitions with fantastic prizes surely contributed to the excellent turnout. It was no surprise to see such an enthusiastic response from the cosplay community.

And last but not least, DreamHack delivered an impressive lineup of esports competitions. While many attendees were hyped up for the intense CS:GO action dominating the arenas, I found myself fully watching the fighting games showcased in the main expo hall. I had the chance to catch the thrilling finales of both CS:GO (kudos to Movistar Riders for their incredible run!) and Street Fighter V events, and I had an absolute blast. The CS:GO final, in particular, was electrifying, with SwaggerSouls opening cases during the match and the crowd erupting in typical Australian chants (and shoeys!). It was an unforgettable experience that truly captured the essence of DreamHack.

All in all, I totally recommend checking out DreamHack in 2024. It’s well on its way to becoming a staple on the calendars of Aussie gamers, and people from all over the country are flocking to be part of the action. I hope it keeps expanding with more fun activities, awesome creators, epic expo booths, and thrilling competitions. If things keep going this way, count me in for every single year!

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