TwitchCon 2018 Review

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The 4th annual TwitchCon event was held over the weekend in San Jose, California. People traveled from all over the world to take part in the event. Since the convention finally came back to the Bay Area, it was the perfect opportunity for me to attend. Despite having gone to other conventions before, but I wasn’t quite sure what to really expect since it was only this year that I really got into Twitch. My ultimate goal while attending the convention was to walk out knowing I will come back next year.

The Good

One of the highlights of the entire event was meeting the ButWhyTho podcast hosts Matt and Kate. Not only are they even nicer and funnier in person, but they also provided some useful advice about networking and conventions in general. If they’re reading this, I just want to say thank you!

While I was in line on Friday, I was able to work on my networking skills. For instance, I was able to meet Chase Croft, who is one of the co-founders and CEO of Mischief. His company works with streamers on multiple platforms to bring them extra income by setting up a direct link from their stream to where the viewers can buy the game. For example, if a streamer is playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, there will be a link on their stream that the audience can click to buy the game. I highly recommend this program to any streamer looking for more ways to improve their channel.

With the extremely long lines on Friday and a lot of people not making it inside the venue until late afternoon, Twitch made it up by allowing those who only got Friday passes to attend on Saturday for free. I got a Friday pass mainly to just get the feel of the convention. I didn’t really know what to expect and I didn’t want to get a three-day pass if I wasn’t going to attend Saturday or Sunday. Not sure if it was worth waiting nearly four hours, but it was a nice way to make up for the insane waiting times.

I was also able to try out some demos for games like Jump Force and Soul Calibur IV. I knew about the Soul Calibur series but never had any interest in trying it out. I had a match against another person and wound up winning without really knowing any of the controls. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I had fun playing the game and was convinced me to pick up a copy.  I was really excited to play Jump Force. From the games initial announcement, I knew that I would get it the first day it came out. An all-anime fighting game with characters from multiple series is exactly what I’ve always wanted. The game mechanics ran smooth and the overall gameplay experience was amazing.

The Bad

As soon as I got to the venue, the lines were already long. Twitch announced that attendees could pick up their passes the day before the event and had I known about that sooner, I would’ve definitely gone to get my pass. The day of the event, there were supposed to be two different lines. One was to get your pass and the other was to get into the event. I ended up walking around for about 20 minutes trying to find where the first line was. I got about 5 different answers from other people in line before just following a group of people and getting in a line.

I got in line around 11:40 am. By the time that I got in the venue, it was close to 4:00 pm. I’ve been to numerous concerts and conventions, but I have never waited more than two hours to get inside a venue. Waiting in line for nearly four hours wasn’t something I thought could happen at an event like this. I understand the need for tighter security, especially after what’s been happening recently but tightening security to get to the event and leaving the lines unsupervised doesn’t really help anyone. One person in line made a joke when they said: “Well, if anything crazy happened out here, at least the people inside are safe”. On top of that, it was incredibly hot outside. Coming from San Francisco, I’m only prepared for cold weather. Dealing with San Jose weather wasn’t something I was prepared for. They only began passing out water bottles around 3:00 pm.

I don’t want to come across as just complaining about the wait times and dealing with the heat. But Twitch should have definitely prepared for situations like this. With the site gaining more and more users every day, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t strive to make this event run as smooth as possible. At least they made it up by letting people who had only bought a one-day pass to come back on Saturday for free and extending the closing time for the exhibition hall by an hour. However, exhibitors were already beginning to pack up by 5:30 pm, so it was unfair to them having to stay around another hour.

Earlier this week, I published a piece on what I thought about the “Violence in Video Games: Streamers on Culture & the Value of Gaming” panel that took place on Saturday. Click here to read my review.

Overall Thoughts

Regardless of the long waiting times, I had a blast at Twitch Con. I learned a lot about what to do and not do, which will come in handy if I can attend next year’s event.