SXSW Sydney Just Dropped the Program for Its Inaugural Gaming Conference — Including a Dedicated Tabletop Game Expo

A global esports tournament and a celebration of indie video games are also part of the festival lineup.
Ben Hansen
June 20, 2023

If you haven't heard the news, South by South West is officially coming to Sydney for its first festival outside of Texas later this year, and details of its massive gaming-focused arm of the conference, officially titled the SXSW Sydney Gaming Festival, have now been revealed.

Running for the length of the festival, the gaming program will feature a Sydney edition of a global esports tournament, an indie game showcase, a tabletop game expo, hands-on demonstrations for AR and VR creations, panels, performances, a social hub and an investment summit for pitch sessions and general industry hobnobbing.

The headline event will be the Intel Extreme Masters, which will arrive at the Aware Super Theatre from Friday, October 20-Sunday, October 22 following massive iterations in Katowice, Rio de Janeiro, Dallas, and Sydney back in 2019 when the event sold out Qudos Bank Arena.

The longest-running pro gaming tour in the world, Intel Extreme Masters is the gaming world's equivalent of the World Cup or the Olympics and will bring some of the world's leading esports pros to Australia.

The Indie Games Showcase will place the spotlight on 150 independent games from Australia, New Zealand and the globe, with sessions diving into the world of the indie open to both industry and general audiences. You can catch sneak peeks of a new animated word game called Gubbins, a highly stylised adventure puzzle game called Birth and a restaurant-set time management game called The Chef's Shift among the 150 titles.

If you prefer your games more tangible, there will be a dedicated tabletop festival within the conference with exhibitors, demos, seminars, stage sessions and a freeplay area all dedicated to IRL card, roleplay and board games.


This is just the start of the gaming section of the SXSW Sydney program with more to be announced closer to the date.

Beyond gaming, the world-renowned fest is bringing together innovators and venue-fillers from across a heap of industries between Sunday, October 15–Sunday, October 22. There's been an initial announcement of keynote speakers and musicians, plus a heap of local artists and a pair of parties so far, with more to come.

On the previously announced section of the program, you'll find speakers like Chris Lee (also known as Lee Sung-Su), the Chief A&R Officer and former CEO of K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment; The Genesis Machine author and Future Today Institute founder Amy Webb; and Saudi women's rights activist Manal al-Sharif — plus a heap of musicians like Redveil, Connie Constance, Otoboke Beaver, Wallice, Chameleon Lime Whoopiepie, Teenage Joans, Phoebe Go, MALI JO$E, Ashli.


The festival will take place within a walkable precinct within the Sydney CBD, Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Ultimo, Chippendale and more. Think of the fest's footprint as a huge hub, with festivals within the bigger fest, exhibitions, talks, networking opportunities and streetside activations popping up everywhere. So far, venues named include Powerhouse Museum, ICC Sydney, UTS, Central Park Mall, the Goods Line Walk, The Abercrombie and Lansdowne Hotel.

SXSW Sydney will run from Sunday, October 15–Sunday, October 22 at various Sydney venues — head to the festival's website for further details.


Published on June 20, 2023 by Ben Hansen
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