Where Is The World’s Largest LAN Party Held?
Answer: Jönköping, Sweden
It’s not hard to host a LAN party–get a few friends together, plug some computers into a switch, and you’ve got the groundwork for a good time. Increase the scale however to, say, 20,000 friends, and you’ve got a project that requires some serious planning.
Back in the early 1990s, a group of Swedish friends and computer enthusiasts started gathering in a Malung elementary school basement. The original meeting had no official name, no internet access, and only a few computers. The gathering grew, and by 1994 they had moved upstairs to the cafeteria, adopted the event name DreamHack, and had 40 computers–but still no internet access. More people kept coming, computer companies showed an interest in giving demonstrations, and the entire affair continued to grow–by 1997 it had moved to a small arena in Borlänge. DreamHack continued to grow as an event (and outgrow venues) until it found a permanent home in Jönköping, Sweden at the Elimia Exhibition Center. In roughly 10 years DreamHack went from being the largest LAN party in Sweden, to the largest LAN party in Scandanavia, to the largest LAN party in the entire world.
How large? In December of 2011, the DreamHack Winter meeting boasted 20,984 total visitors, over 12,000 individual computers (all with their own individual stations that included power and a high-speed internet link to the venues temporary 210Gbps internet connection), a total prize pool of a $160,000, concerts, demonstrations, and even a massive sleeping hall for thousands of gamers to crash in between matches. For a weekend the Elmia Exhibition Center where the event is hosted becomes its own heavily populated and technologically dazzling village of games and computer enthusiasts.