San Diego DreamHack convention brings video games and esports to center stage
Comic-Con is synonymous with San Diego, and many locals have heard of TwitchCon, but this weekend at the San Diego Convention Center it's all about DreamHack.
Visitors to the the festival will be greeted with bright colors, loud music and video game sounds along with some crazy cosplay outfits and cutting edge technology.
Edgar Castaneda, along with some of his family, flew in from Boston.
“'Rocket League' is the game we're here for, but there's other games going on. I met another pro player outside for Magic. It was pretty cool, just meeting other people from all over the world playing different stuff — gamers together,” he said while watching a pro esports game at DreamHack.
The three-day festival celebrating video games and esports also brought out plenty of San Diegans, including many middle and high school students who were given free tickets and otherwise wouldn't be able to come.
“Well, now I play like the usual 'Fortnite,' 'Call of Duty 2.0,' but for classics, like 'Super Mario' on the Nintendo old, those are fun,” said 7th grader Alana Lara.
She was at DreamHack for a field trip with her Millennial Tech Middle School’s production team. She said video games and esports aren't such boys clubs anymore and she's proof of it.
In fact, her school is starting its own esports team and she plans on joining. Lara said she’s had the passion for as long as she can remember.
“My whole life basically, because my dad had me when he was young, so he was still like playing video games. And then I grew up playing them with him,” she said.
It's the first time DreamHack has been in San Diego and organizers said it will be their largest ever event in North America. They are expecting more than 30,000 people.
The timing of such a large event makes sense as the popularity of esports and video games exploded during the pandemic.
People like Millennial Tech’s Lara, who said she plays upwards of 20 hours of video games a week, are helping the industry shed old stereotypes.
“I think video games are for everyone. They're not just for the guys, the nerds, the jocks or anyone. They’re for anyone who just wants to play a game and have fun with their friends,” she said.
DreamHack runs through Sunday at the convention center and anyone under 13 gets in free for the whole weekend.
Organizers are hoping that the festival will be an annual event in San Diego.