This past weekend, the Mascone West Center in San Francisco was filled with purple from wall to wall for Twitchcon 2015. This was the first convention hosted by the game-streaming giant and it did not disappoint. I could give you an outside perspective of the things I observed but I opted to go for a more personal touch. I will be discussing TwitchCon in the style of a conversation between myself and my good friend Azzy. As some of you may know, I stream regularly on Twitch on Your Favorite Heroes. Azzy and I started the channel this past June. Since then our following has grown substantially and we have built a great community. For us the convention was not only an opportunity to partake in all the entertainment but also in the educational panels that would help us perfect our craft.
Ray: So Azzy, what was your first thought when you walked into TwitchCon.
Azzy: WOAHHH GAMES! Actually, my first thought was how everything was related to gaming. Everything from the music to the panels to the activities was being catered to gamers. What impressed me the most was how much attention to detail was given to all aspects of the convention. Even the gaming areas of the convention were outfitted with the newest PCs, gaming headsets, and tech.
Azzy was right. TwitchCon put in a lot of effort to making gamers feel at home. All the events and activities celebrated gamers and focused on the things that make the Twitch community great. Although the attendance at the convention reached into the upwards of 20,000 attendees, it never felt crowded. Azzy and I often showed up to panels 30 minutes before they started and would end up being one of the first people in line. It was a great feeling when compared to the long lines and wait times often found in other conventions.
Ray: There were a lot of games being showcased at the event. Which one stood out to you the most?
Azzy: Definitely the Walking Dead Simulator. It felt so real and the animations in the game made you feel like you were there.
The Walking Dead VR game was definitely special. Me and Azzy both had a chance to demo the game and we both walked away surprised about how far VR gaming has come in the last few years. The game had you sitting in a wheelchair as you were being wheeled out of the hospital to escape hordes of the undead. At one point during the demo we were given a pump action shot gun which is the moment when “things got real.” But don’t take my work..check out this clip of Azzy:
Ray: What did you think about the panels and workshops held at the event?
Azzy: I thought that they were all educational and inspiring. You were constantly learning on how to become a better streamer from people who worked at Twitch. Being a streamer is not as easy as one would think and having hands on training was incredibly beneficial.
Azzy and me have had long conversations about what it means to be a streamer. People assume that its just playing videogames but a lot of work goes into making a professional stream. The art that is displayed on your theme needs to be consistent with your brand because it ultimately becomes your identity. As for streaming, it does take a toll on you. As Azzy says “There is no pressure when you are not streaming. You can just lay out on the couch and drool. Actually I don’t drool THAT much.” She brings home a good point. When you are streaming you are “on” that means you have to not only be entertaining but you have to be performing for your audience.
TwitchCon 2015 was definitely a gaming convention done right. Twitch centered most of the programming and events around their most popular broadcasters and partners. I have never been to a convention in which the organizers so willingly want to hand over the reigns to their attendees. The Twitch community did not disappoint and TwitchCon became a stage for the single most important thing that makes things great-the community.