Phoenix’s Game On Expo is moving to the spring in 2024 | Phoenix New Times

Game On Expo is moving to March and a bigger space at Phoenix Convention Center

The popular video game and anime event is leveling up to bigger digs at the Phoenix Convention Center and a month with cooler weather.
A Sonic the Hedgehog cosplayer at this year's Game On Expo.
A Sonic the Hedgehog cosplayer at this year's Game On Expo. Benjamin Leatherman

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Attendees of this year’s Game On Expo over the weekend got some big news about the future of the popular video game and anime convention: It’s leveling up to a larger location and a new spot on the calendar.

Game On Expo’s organizers announced on Friday that the 2024 edition of the annual weekend-long con will take place from March 15 to 17 inside the North Building of the Phoenix Convention Center.

And local cosplayers are likely going to reap the benefits of the move. The event, which has taken place in August since launching in 2015, will now happen during a part of the year with more enjoyable weather.

Game On Expo co-founder John Lester tells Phoenix New Times it's one of the main reasons behind the change.

“The weather will be much more ideal than [running the event] in August because of how gorgeous it is in March. It's a time of year when there’s more going on and more people are willing to go out and do stuff,” Lester says. “I think it gives us a better opportunity to grow and also increase our cosplay because, frankly, people can dress up and not worry about overheating. I’ve been joking about how it will be the 'coolest gaming event in Arizona’ because we’re running in March.”

Lester says organizers also feel Game On Expo has outgrown its current home at the Phoenix Convention Center’s South Building. (It's the second location change for Game On Expo, which moved to downtown Phoenix in 2017 from its original home at the Mesa Convention Center.)

“We've been pushing at the seams in terms of attendance, so it just made sense to move to a bigger part [of the convention center],” he says.

Lester says the Game On Expo will utilize 150,000 square feet of space for its 2024 edition, which is a 40,000-square-foot increase from this year’s event.
click to enlarge
The North Building at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr
He wasn’t able to provide specifics beyond stating that the con will offer “more room for gaming, vendors, guests, events and everything else.”

Game On Expo will be taking place at the convention center just over two months before Phoenix Fan Fusion, Arizona’s biggest pop-culture and geek event of the year, happens in late May.

Despite some overlap in programming, activities and other aspects between the two geeky events (both cover video games and anime), Lester says there’s no competition.

“[Game On Expo] isn’t going to be as anywhere as big as Fan Fusion, since we're nowhere near that size yet, but we will definitely be bigger than we were before,” Lester says.
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