Nintendo_Play_Summer_Tour.jpgTake one look at an upcoming video game events calendar and you can’t help but recognize that gaming’s popularity is off the charts these days. Gamescom, PAX West, Tokyo Game Show, Paris Games Week, Fan Expo, X16, Nintendo Tour—and many more—all in the next three months alone. To get you primed on the hottest video game events of the summer (and beyond), here’s a list of gaming events happening soon to keep on your radar.

Major International Gaming Events

Gamescom – Colgone, Germany: August 17-21, 2016

Europe’s largest video game trade fair is less than four weeks away, and while it may end up being less of a spectacle this year (due to Microsoft, Sony, and EA opting to not host press conferences), we should still see new game reveals and get updates on titles arriving this holiday. Already Bandai Namco’s VP of IP Strategy, Hervé Hoerdt, announced in a recent company press release that they will be introducing a brand new project aimed at western audiences during Gamescom. That in of itself is exciting enough, but there will undoubtedly be more surprises that lie ahead.

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Tokyo Game Show – Tokyo, Japan: September 15-18, 2016

Japan’s annual video game expo also traditionally includes new game reveals and thrilling new footage/updates on previously announced projects. News tends to exclusively from major publishers headquartered in the country, like Sony, Square Enix, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Sega, Koei Tecmo, and Konami.

Paris Games Week – Paris, France: October 27-31, 2016

This relatively new public trade fair for video games has grown significantly since its debut in 2010, drawing more than 307,000 fans last year and even surpassing Tokyo Game Show in size (it had 268,000 attendees in 2015.) What really put Paris Games Week on the international media radar though was Sony’s decision last year to host a press conference at the event, where they revealed games like Detroit: Become Human, Tekken 7, Gran Turismo Sport, and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. Sony hasn’t yet announced their plans for this year’s Paris Games Week, but since they’re not hosting a conference at Gamescom, all eyes are on this show to see what Sony’s next move is.

Canadian Gaming Events

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Fan Expo Canada – Toronto: September 1-4, 2016

This Labour Day join an expected 125,000+ video game, anime, comics, sci-fi, and horror fans at Fan Expo Canada. Taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Fan Expo Canada will bring together big name stars, huge booths, and attractions galore in one of Canada’s largest fan-centric events. For video game fans, this year you can meet Charles Martinet, the iconic voice behind Nintendo’s beloved Mario character, David Hayter, who voiced Solid Snake and Naked Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series, Mark Hamill, who played the legendary Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series and was the brilliant voice behind Joker in the Batman Arkham games, and Kevin Conroy, also starring in Batman Arkham as the voice behind the Caped Crusader himself. Another major guest coming to this year’s Fan Expo Canada is Stan Lee, known to millions of fans as the co-creator of such characters as Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, X-Men, and hundreds more, who will be making his final Canadian appearance. You won’t want to miss that!

In addition to the gaming guests at the show, expect to see plenty of gaming attractions, including Ubisoft’s 30 years of play celebration. Xbox Canada will also have exclusive demos of Dead Rising 4 and Gears of War 4, giving you a chance to try out two of this fall’s hottest Xbox One games. Goldberg, the famed WCW/WWE wrestler is making an autograph signing appearance as well, courtesy of 2K for its upcoming WWE 2K17 video game. Finally, Northern Arena, a new eSports league in Canada, will have a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament with $100,000 in cash prizes to be won. The top two teams from the recent Canadian online qualifiers will be joined by 12 of the best CS:GO eSports teams in the world to compete for the prizes.

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Nintendo Tour – Ontario & BC: now until Sept 5

This summer, Nintendo’s Canadian Play Tour is travelling to Ontario and BC to showcase some of their best-selling games for New Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS. At the events you can play in the games zone, strike poses with your favourite Nintendo characters, and get cool giveaways. Here are the exciting games you can try:

Kirby: Planet Robobot

Pokémon Omega Ruby

Pokémon Alpha Sapphire

Mario Kart 7

Yo-Kai Watch

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Super Mario 3D Land

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

Yoshi’s New Island

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Ontario Tour Dates:

Jul 29-31: Toronto – Centreville Theme Park

Aug 5-7: Port Hope – OnRoute service centre

Aug 13-14: Toronto – York-Eglinton International Street Festival

Aug 19-21: Mississauga – Port Credit Buskerfest

BC Tour Dates:

Aug 31-Sep 5: Vancouver – PNE

X16 Media Showcase – Toronto: August 25, 2016

Xbox Canada’s annual games event in Toronto, X16, is back again this year. So far I’m only aware of a Media Showcase (in previous years there’s been a public component as well) where they will be showcasing their biggest ever games lineup on Xbox One and Windows 10. I’ve had lots of great developer interviews, hands-on demos, and other cool opportunities at past X-events, so I expect to have some great coverage to share with everyone here on the Plug-In Blog. Hopefully I’ll even get to see the new Xbox One S console and Xbox One Bluetooth Controller!

Street_Fighter_V_Cineplex.jpgCineplex and WorldGaming Tournaments – Ontario/Manitoba/Alberta/Nova Scotia: now until August 21

We’ve covered Cineplex and WorldGaming’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Street Fighter V eSports tournaments here on the blog, and this summer the cross-Canada competitions continue. First up we’ve got the MLB The Show 16 tournament, with online qualifiers on now until July 29th, and the in-theatre Regional Events (Ontario/Manitoba/Alberta/Nova Scotia) taking place on August 13th from 10am-2pm. Next, Cineplex and WorldGaming have an Uncharted 4 multiplayer eSports tournament where they’re giving away a $50,000 grand prize at the huge Canadian Championship event occurring on August 21st at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. I’ve been to a couple of these championship events now, and believe me, they are thrilling!

Two video game symphony concerts this fall

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The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses – Alberta & BC: September 21-23, 2016

I had a chance to check out Jason Michael Paul’s incredible Zelda symphony a few years back and it was breathtaking. This worldwide musical tour celebrating The Legend of Zelda is making three stops in Canada this fall before it heads over to Europe. If you love Zelda, this is the symphony concert for you!

September 21: Northern Jubilee, Edmonton, AB

September 22: Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary, AB

September 23: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC

A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy – Quebec City: November 19, 2016

From the producers of Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy comes an all-new symphony tour that promises classic Final Fantasy scores and fresh arrangements of music from throughout the 25+ years of Final Fantasy music. Using string quartets, piano and guitar solos, duos, trios, and other mixed groups, you’ll hear Final Fantasy music in its most intimate, beautiful form. A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy is coming to Quebec City’s Palais Montcalm on November 19th—the only Canadian date announced for this tour.

canada_vgas1-471x246.jpgThe Canadian Video Game AwardsMontreal, QC: November 13, 2016

Following shows held in Vancouver and Toronto, the Canadian Video Game Awards will be coming to Montreal for the very first time this year. The 7th Annual CVAs celebrates the very best of Canada’s home-grown video game talent with an event open for public ticket holders on November 13, 2016. Canada is the 3rd largest developer of video games in the world, so we have a lot to celebrate!

With all these upcoming gaming events, I invite you to come back to the Plug-In Blog for some exciting coverage in the months ahead. While we won’t make it out to every event on this list, you can bet that we’ll have tons of event coverage to report on soon!