Launching a Hybrid Festival and Multiplayer Game

A glimpse of a remote production at the Monster Energy DreamHack Studios in Stockholm, Sweden.
A glimpse of a remote production at the Monster Energy DreamHack Studios in Stockholm, Sweden.

In March of 2020, the world shut down as the spread of the novel coronavirus reached global pandemic status. For most people, this experience was new. For others, it was reminiscent of virus outbreaks from history. What followed was isolation and seclusion, lasting well over a year and a half (and still counting). However, for the gaming community, it was an opportunity to do what gaming has always done best — bring people together.

DreamHack is known for being the immersive, gaming lifestyle experience where the gaming community comes to life. With no events able to take place in person, the community could not gather together. A new hybrid event concept had been ideated and explored — it was time to bring it to life, gather the gaming community, bring together partners, and launch this festival hybrid.

Imagine a giant titan in a fantasy world who trips, bumps his head and falls into a coma as a “sleeper” in an alternative reality. Along comes a community who, together, curates the world of which he dreams. They spread joy, love, good times, and celebrations all week long until the giant finally awakens. This was the narrative behind DreamHack Beyond, the new hybrid festival and online multiplayer game. 

To bring this immersive game world to life, DreamHack collaborated with award-winning Super Crowd Entertainment for DreamHack Beyond to create a link between reality and fantasy. Offering the most advanced online event frame available anywhere, the browser-based, multiplayer approach is unique but also user-friendly when navigating this digital experience. With proprietary Super Crowd X5 framework, the state-of-the-art game technology would offer a booth editor for exhibitors, an in-game chat system, and full streaming and online product integration. 

The goal for all of us at DreamHack is always to provide great experiences. Yet DreamHack has become more than just an event — it creates an arena where you can come to connect, explore, win, play a part, and be yourself through a gaming lifestyle experience. DreamHack Beyond needed to capture that through this online game and festival hybrid.

The first edition of DreamHack Beyond was created as a free, seven-day, interactive event, taking place in July 2021. In total, more than 45,000 fans registered to experience the event, with over 1.7 million viewing hours across Twitch and Steam. The festival and multiplayer game hybrid featured themed worlds, 20+ festival halls, game demos, and hourly tournaments (including Hearthstone and Rocket League), the range of added programming, activities and gameplay including the inaugural DreamHack Battle of the Bands, cosplay competitions, panels, screenings, speedrunning, tabletop competitions and more. 

Game statistics

  • More than 45,000 unique fan IDs registered
  • Average playtime of 57 minutes per player
  • 87,182 play sessions across the week
  • Players visited 17 of 22 worlds on average

DreamHack Beyond hosted a total of 633 tournaments during the course of the event which, added up, saw massive signup numbers with over 9,300 people participating. The event was also featured as a Steam event and had the DreamHack Beyond stream spotlighted. In total, the 200-300 streams that were broadcasted through Twitch and the Steam platform achieved over 1.7 million viewing hours with Beyond content

Social statistics

  • DreamHack Beyond realized 866,716 unique viewers across all of its channels on Twitch alone
  • Twitter saw 1.9 million engagements and 5.4 million impressions across the week

The global pandemic created a world of seclusion, isolation, and even fear. In contrast, the gaming world brings people together as a community to share in fun, joy and camaraderie. DreamHack Beyond was created to both complement and showcase the best of DreamHack in a fresh, new way, allowing players/attendees to enjoy the online festival in any way they choose — from virtual cosplay competitions, amateur and professional esports tournaments, and game demos, to the expo, panels, speedrunning, live streamed music and screenings, community tournaments and more. 

By offering this hybrid experience of everything gaming under one “virtual” roof, DreamHack did what it does best — bring its community together, and doing so at a time when in-person gatherings were not possible and community was needed more than ever. DreamHack Beyond confirmed there is a desire for this hybrid experience whether we are in an isolated pandemic or not. As we move forward, DreamHack will continue to bring people together — both in person and online — to share unique experiences with its community of gamers all over the world.