Competitive gaming is one of the fastest growing new markets in entertainment business, with about 214 million active participants and viewers worldwide. It’s a huge new frontier in the eSports world, and tons of dance music artists are getting in on the fun. Marshmello has his own game-streaming platform, deadmau5 has regularly used Twitch as a way to interact with fans while playing, and Dillon Francis has made it obvious he’s a gaming fan. In fact, a lot of electronic artists cite video games as a musical inspiration, so it should come as no big surprise that Insomniac, the same company behind EDC Las Vegas, is getting involved in a new video game-themed music festival.
It’s called PLAY, and while specific details are still mum, we can say it’s scheduled to make its debut in 2019. It’s centered around five basic themes; music, gaming, eSports, activations and cosplay. It will bring some of the biggest names in electronic dance music as well as professional gaming and other celebrities, giving fans a chance to see great live performances and compete for cash prizes as well as bragging rights and old-fashioned arcade fun.
“These two worlds have so many parallels,” says Insomniac Founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella in an emailed statement. “They’re colorful and high energy, they attract an audience that’s extremely passionate about community, and there’s a level of creative expression that both cosplayers and ravers share that you don’t see anywhere else. I’m excited to bring these two worlds together in a live environment like it’s never been done before.”
PLAY will feature a ton of ancillary activities, from classic arcade games to virtual reality, laser tag, drone racing, art installations and more. It’s all about creating a three-dimensional, interactive universe that blends the wide world of gaming with the exciting elements of traditional dance music festivals.
“I think music and gaming have always gone hand in hand,” says PLAY co-founder Paul Campbell in an emailed statement. “Early on it was the jingle from games like Mario Bros.that we all fell in love with. Then a lot of sports games curated full soundtracks with current music, and Grand Theft Auto really took it to another level, allowing you to control radio stations featuring all types of genres while driving across the city.”
As a former co-founder of Life in Color, Campbell has experience crafting over-the-top events. From a musical standpoint, PLAY will follow in Insomniac’s footsteps, focusing on dance music and hip-hop across multiple, theatrical stages. It is PLAY’s aim to incorporate those artists who have made themselves members of the online gaming community.
“Now, with the explosion of gaming, Twitch, and eSports, you have some of the biggest musicians fully getting involved in gaming,” Campbell continues, “whether that’s Marshmello, Diplo, or Dillon Francis getting on Twitch to play fans, or Post Malone, Juice World, and The Game going live.”
No lineups, official dates or venues have yet been announced. Stay tuned for more about PLAY in the months to come.