From humble beginnings in a Swedish school cafeteria 20 years ago, to a global phenomenon — DreamHack has established itself as a true beacon of internet culture. And in 2022, Australia will get it’s first taste of the ultimate gaming experience at DreamHack Melbourne.
Set for September 2-4, the Victorian capital will play host to a festival unlike anything seen before in the country, with enough across the three days to satisfy any gamer — from the weekend casual to the elite competitor.
“We like to challenge ourselves with our events and we really want to blow everyone away with DreamHack,” said ESL Australia General Manager Josh Inman to Snowball Esports prior to today’s announcement.
“DreamHack is a festival of gaming, a lifestyle experience — so on top of your esports arena events there’s going to be live music, free play, an open LAN environment and other festival activities to be announced.”
Attendees will be spoiled for choice, with in-arena live esports, the DreamHack Expo, merchandise and various on-ground activities just scratching the surface of what DreamHack Melbourne will feature.
Not to be forgotten, DH Melbourne will also include a large-scale bring-your-own-PC (BYOPC) LAN environment — a staple of DreamHack events dating back to their inception.
“It is our full intent to really embrace the spirit of what DreamHack is, and we believe that you can’t have a DreamHack without a large local LAN event,” said Inman.
“[ESL Australia] was on such a roll prior to COVID — bringing IEM down under for three years, developing MEO for two years — and we were set to merge our two largest events into one product.
“Our team is chomping at the bit to continue the roll that we were on.”
“We thought to ourselves ‘how can we make this big?’ As awesome as it was, we couldn’t come back out with something like MEO — we needed something special, and that’s exactly what DreamHack is.”Josh Inman, ESL Australia General Manager
While an exact venue in Melbourne is to be confirmed, Snowball Esports expects facilities at Melbourne Olympic Park will be used across the three-day festival.
There’s no shortage of top-tier esports action set for the weekend. As announced in September, the ANZ leg of the Halo Championship Series will be held live at DreamHack Melbourne, featuring qualifying teams battling for a shot at a share of the $50,000 AU local prize pool.
Also on the line — potential qualification for the HCS Orlando Major later in September, eventually leading to the World Championship in Seattle in mid-October.
Confirmed today, the LCO Split 2 finals will take place on LAN at DreamHack Melbourne. Originally, 2020’s second split finals were set for MEO, until the event was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.
Not to be forgotten, Australia’s first premier CS:GO tournament in over two years — ESL Challenger #50 — will be held at the festival, and like it’s precursor IEM Sydney, it is set to feature both international and domestic squads.
“We’re looking to capitalize on the three days that we have and build a format around that that ensures plenty of content and coverage for local and international CS:GO fans,” said Brad Baldwin, Senior Product Manager at ESL Australia.
“We’re definitely looking to bring as much of an international presence as possible. There definitely will be international visitation but it’ll be closer to a DreamHack Open.”
MEO 2020 was set to host a two-day CS:GO tournament, but the global COVID pandemic first postponed, then outright forced organizers to cancel the exhibition.
Inman and the ESL Australia team are confident that, by the time DreamHack Melbourne swings around in September, all will proceed as planned.
“We’re extremely confident that the state and federal response to COVID will continue to be positive and proactive as they’ve been, and we have faith in the government that they will support live events,” said Inman.
“Every conversation that we’ve had with our partners, including government officials, has been extremely positive towards the event and that they will support us in any way they can.
“We have a very thorough COVID policy towards the event, and when it comes to contingencies, it’s not something at the forefront because we’re working towards a vaccinated and safe population, with everyone being in a place where we’re happy to go ahead with large-scale events come September.”
Tickets are set to go on sale in early February, with a variety of options planned for attendees.
“Attendance passes will follow a lot of similarities to other DreamHack events; festival passes, single-day passes and the like, but also exploring what we can do locally to provide as many options to the public,” said Baldwin.
“We want to keep the ticketing process as simple and as easy to understand as possible.”
For those interested in more information, and to be first in line for early bird specials, head to the DreamHack Melbourne official website and sign up for the official waitlist.