Academic conferences have always been privileged spaces and moments for the dissemination of new scientific knowledge, as well as for social interaction and for the establishment and development of social networks among scientists. However, the virtual dimension of conferences, in which individuals are not physically present in the same place, begins to emerge as an increasingly used possibility, which implies a different framing of these scientific events. This paper seeks to comparatively analyse several models of academic conferences, putting forth their advantages, limitations and potentials. Furthermore, it also seeks to reasonably envision the importance and challenges to be faced in the near future. The analysis allows concluding that virtual conferences tend to take on an increasingly central role in this type of scientific dissemination, but without totally relegating the conference mode with face-to-face interaction. Moreover, there may be conferences that emerge as a hybrid between these two types of conferences, in an attempt to provide their main benefits to the various participants. However, the insufficient literature on this topic calls for the need to develop and deepen studies in this area that allow understanding this academic and social, but also economic phenomenon, in its broader implications.