DreamHack 2023 is Melbourne’s hottest gaming Expo

Dreamhack arrived back in Melbourne for its second year with a HUGE event that took over the Rod Laver Arena and Melbourne Park precinct for three days of the biggest gaming and pop.culture event that seems to have really found its stride this year. The festival is filled with cosplayers, artists’ gallery, LAN gaming, tabletop gaming, panels with experts from all areas of gaming, a live streaming hub where some of your favourite content creators streamed live from the event, a cosplay competition and the main event a massive E-Sports arena where some of the worlds biggest competitors made their way to Melbourne to showcase why they are at the top of their game. It was a fantastic event that is incredibly well organised and spaced out with the Melbourne Park precinct transforming into a massive gamer playground.

The three-day event is linked to an app that allows you to organise your day setting reminders for all of the events that run on the top of the hour, they will send a notification to your phone to make sure that you don’t miss any of the action. The Melbourne Parks arena is such a great venue due to its expansive buildings that allow everything to have its own space and helps with crowd control. There are food trucks in the outdoor area and a rainbow road that connects Rod Laver Arena to the panel and content creator building that helps take this festival outside to some much-needed Melbourne sun.

The Rod Laver Arena is split into two sections, the main stage housing the cosplay competition, international guests and panellists who offered up advice for newcomers trying to break into the gaming industry. The other side of the arena was home to the 24-hour LAN party allowing gamers to bring their own PC setups and settle in for a huge weekend of gaming. Being able to sit in the seats and hear the screaming and cheers of friends old and new as fast and furious game matches continue round after round was great to witness. Being able to easily move to the main stage side and catch the EPIC cosplay competition which showcased some truly talented cosplayers

Some 25,000 fans attended the event over the weekend up in huge numbers from last year’s debut event. The excitement around the park as each event swung into action was infectious. Perhaps my favourite part was the rainbow road connection between Rod Laver Arena and the panels area. It’s such a great flow from inside to outside and helps create that fun and vibrant atmosphere. The food trucks outside and the fun and huge line for the  velcro archery event in which you can play against your friends in a huge arena shooting arrows at each other. It is definitely the longest line I saw across the whole three-day festival and worth every second in line.

Esports fans were treated to a massive weekend with the Movistar Riders taking out the top spot in the Counter-Strike : Global Offensive ESL Challenger Tournament. The Chiefs scored the win in the League of Legends circuit Oceania Finals and a whopping $200,000 awarded in prize money across the event. The Cosplay competition saw prize money of $16,000 and the sold-out BYO LAN party took out $40,000 in prizes. Witnessing world-class e-sports competitions and cosplay in Melbourne is such a fantastic thing for our state to play host to and I can’t wait to see how much it grows next year.

There was a definite lack of gaming studio presence at the event and this could definitely be added to future events to increase the appeal of the event and make it the ultimate gaming experience for Melbourne. The attendees seemed to enjoy the event with friend groups both old and new seemed to enjoy the variety of events on offer over the weekend.

If you love Twitch and the streaming community, there is a whole section here for streamers who were streaming live all weekend. Top streamers held panels offering up advice on how to get involved in streaming in 2023, and how to build an audience and turn them into a community. It was genuinely fascinating to listen to everyone’s journey and it was clear from the keen listeners, just how loved they are by their community.

Dreamhack Melbourne is a fantastic addition to Melbourne’s festival line-up. Bringing world-class E-Sports events with a serious prize pool, this alone is worth the price of admission alone. The Cosplay competition showcased some incredible works from incredibly talented makers who go out of their way to explain how each piece has been created. Dreamhack Melbourne is incredibly well laid out and has a great flow thanks to the expansive nature of the venue. With a few more tweaks, DreamHack will cement itself as the biggest and best gaming festivals in Australia.

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