By Makaya Loo
September 30 thru October 2nd many fans of the popular live-streaming website twitch.tv came together at the San Diego Convention Center to celebrate the annual TwitchCon 2016 event. Twitch is a site where thousands of people can live stream themselves playing video games for their viewers. Some things you can do on this site along with watching another live streamer are, being able to interact with the streamer in a live chat box where you can also express yourself with custom “emotes” or emoticons to show feelings and emotions. I had attended TwitchCon this weekend for the first time ever; it being the second event of its kind. This event had me starstruck at what it had in store for me.
There were plenty of activities to do which involved meeting your favorite streamer in person, exploring the expo hall full of new games and vendors to spark your interest, buying limited edition merchandise, attending panels where many successful streamers talk about specific topics to help other possible upcoming streamers, and there were even some panels for entertainment such as tournaments or making fun of your favorite streamer for your enjoyment. This event was available to all ages but on top of those many activities there was even an area on the rooftop for anyone above the age 21 to halve some drinks and jam out to some music provided by NoCopyrightSounds and special guests such as Darude who made a special appearance for one last session the morning after the TwitchCon After Party on Saturday night at Petco Field showcasing additional guests, T-Pain, and Steve Aoki.
Personally, I have been watching users stream live on twitch.tv for over 5 years and to meet some of these people I have been watching for years was a great experience. As a newcomer to being on the other side of the screen when live-streaming, attending panels such as, Protecting Yourself on the Internet (Streamer Edition) which helps you learn how to guard yourself from the online predators of the internet, Twitch Partnerships FAQ which helps answer some questions you may have when applying for the Twitch Partnership Program which if you don’t already know is a program where popular streamers who meet the requirements can partner with Twitch to obtain a subscription button where viewers can pay a monthly fee of $4.99 to support their favorite streamer and in return get special perks based on the streamer and special emotes to use across the entire site, and one of the more popular panels How to get Sponsored When You Are Not That Big… Yet which teaches you about how to approach companies about getting sponsored to promote their products that you love and pay for you to attend events etc. were very helpful with information that was actually useful and beneficial that allowed you to take something away with you.
The expo hall was not the main attraction but it definitely had plenty of things to do in your spare time. At the expo hall is where you learn about new games and companies relevant to the gaming industry and aimed at streaming. There were so many new companies such as Infiniscene which is a live streaming tool that you can use straight from your web browser, and Revlo which is virtual moderator bot for your chat box in your stream which can assist you with tracking people’s hours in stream
and rewards viewers with virtual points to compete with others and spend on whatever the streamer desires. Along with the new companies there were the already quite well known companies like Alienware, a technology specializing in the latest and greatest gaming computers, and Turtle Beach who are some of the top competitors when it comes to gaming headsets that try to immerse you into the game.
There were so many games to check out I was unable to try them all but some of them that I did are Breakaway, and World War Toons. Breakaway is one of the games I will be most looking forward to in the future because the game was so much fun! Breakaway is a moba like game where you get to choose your heroes and fight for the victory. In order to win you must capture the ball in the center of the arena and make your way to the enemies side to score. This game was a blast to play with other people and I can definitely see it being a successful game in the world of eSports. World War Toons is a first person shooter virtual reality game, it’s art style is very cartoonified and it is a capture the flag type game currently. The game was very enjoyable and I can see it also being successful but it being a new game and not at full launch there is still many things that need to be worked out. The game had made me feel very sick afterwards and wearing the virtual reality headset to help my aim in the game was a little uneasy and will take some getting used to.
Also in the expo hall was an area called the Creative Corner in this area of the hall people were able to show off their creative skills in so many ways, but mainly art. Bob Ross was one of the more popular events showcasing the Bob Ross Company where you were able to learn how to paint just like Bob Ross with a professional instructor to paint along with. Bob Ross is relevant here in case you were wondering because there was a channel on Twitch created to where a user had livestreamed a marathon of famous painter’s Bob Ross TV show The Joy of Painting that had instantly gotten very popular on the site and was even a topic on many news outlets. The success of this channel had gotten so big, it resulted in the creation of the gaming topic, Creative. When streaming under the game Creative users are able stream themselves doing things beyond what Twitch had previously allowed, Creative allows users to stream things like painting, editing, building and much more which opens Twitch up to so much more than just gaming.
The TwitchCon After Party was a great way for people to collaborate and enjoy more of their time here at TwitchCon. This party or more of a concert took place in at Petco Field, a few blocks away from the San Diego Convention Center and was available to anyone attending TwitchCon 2016 with a ticket purchase of course. The whole stadium was open to everyone for the party if you ask anyone who went, it was a time to remember. There were alcoholic drinks for attendees of drinking age and even side activities like toss the bean bag. However the real reason people were there was because of the main attractions, T-Pain, Steve Aoki, and Darude. T-Pain was enjoyable for a little while but many sources say that he wasn’t very entertaining and was saying he was getting too old. Steve Aoki had performed an amazing performance with great remixes and song along with getting the fans involved and bringing some on stage to dance with him and smash cream pies into their faces.
Darude had a pretty good performance but what really kept the fans staying was them waiting for him to play his popular song Sandstorm which became a running joke with many of the users across Twitch, but to many fans’ disappointment he unfortunately did not play the song.
On the last day of the event, the last panel called Twitch Yearly showcased many of the great memories everyone had achieved over the past weekend and over the course of the entire website over the last year. They had shown many clips from people’s greatest moments live on stream and shown how Twitch has grown as a company in thanks to the viewers. Twitch had displayed some of the many charitable accomplishments they had put together raising over 100 million dollars for over 100 charities from just the viewers themselves. Twitch had also announced for a short period of time for every 100,000 Twitch subscriptions they would donate $100,000 to charity alongside the greatest announcement of the whole weekend, Twitch Prime. Twitch Prime is in collaboration with Amazon Prime to bring a better viewer experience to Twitch to anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription. With Twitch Prime you get special perks such as a free monthly subscription to any streamer you want, it gives you special discounts on games with Amazon, and so much more. Many speakers at this panel were telling their experience with Twitch and had come down in tears because Twitch has greatly impacted their life in a very positive way and their thankfulness could not be more appreciated. TwitchCon 2016 had been one of the most memorable moments of my life and I will definitely be attending more.
By Makaya Loo