If you’re a small streamer with dreams of making it big, the thought of going to Twitchcon may have crossed your mind. It certainly crossed ours. Jordanna and I went this last weekend to the second ever Twitchcon. Despite the hours we endured after sleeping a handful of hours, despite not finding anything good to eat, and despite the hours spent on our feet, Twitchcon is an event anyone who loves the site should definitely make an effort to attend. Here’s why.
(I won’t talk about the panels. The panels are streamed and are therefore not a huge incentive to go experience the event in person. This blog post is going to focus on the benefits of going to the main expo hall and experience Twitch behind the screen.
Putting aside the tons of fun we had and the awesome people we met, the event itself opened my eyes to a dimension of Twitch I had not truly appreciated: community is everything at all levels. It was a common refrain in every panel I attended: maintain a healthy and supportive community. Any person evaluating a channel either through a business lens or an entertainment lens will ultimately boil down to an evaluation of the community. I love my community. I’m not referring to the people in my neighborhood. I’m referring to those individuals I game with on a regular basis (they know who they are). Twitchcon only helps broaden that supportive community. You met people from all walks of life who made an effort to come to this place at this time because they share a common interest with you. Knowing the fact that everyone in attendance embraces gaming makes it a lot easier to strike up conversations with the person sitting next to you. Call it networking, call it community building, I like calling it making friends.
I know not everyone who watches twitch is a fun person to hang out with; trolls are very much real and can ruin an otherwise fun stream. I believe a community thrives on how well the members co-operate with one another. The trolls therefore, although very visible when they come out, seem to make up the vast minority of watchers. I hope the crowd is generally as awesome as it was this weekend.
Holy damn there’s a lot of cool stuff coming down the line! I didn’t grow up with a lot of options when it games to the games I could play. My console was always a generation behind and I only got games when I did well in school or for the holidays. But now, not only is every game at my fingertips, there’s a game out there I can play with anyone, anywhere, anytime. What this event showed me is that for every major AAA release, there’s an indie developer with a dream and enough imagination and drive to make it a reality. I played a lot of games and I’m grateful to every developer there that took the time to talk to me and share their passion and ideas. I gathered from the many conversations I had with the developers that they generally have a soft spot for smaller streamers because they understand the struggles of getting a dream going and they like supporting someone they know will generally appreciate the relationship more. It’s easy to stay interested in video games when nice people keep coming up with great games.
There are many booths set by companies with different services for streamers to use. Any streamer could use another tool to help grow their channel, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve heard of some sites that could help our channel grow, but there is something important about hearing about a service straight from the providers. I found myself intrigued by the companies who had representatives answering every question I presented without hesitation and with a mountain of passion. Enthusiasm is infectious and makes it easy to appreciate your channel’s potential. It is reassuring knowing that there are dozens of people who are genuinely interested in seeing you succeed (if only because it helps them succeed as a business). I did not talk with any representative from a hardware company. I’ll be honest: I do not understand technology as well as I should. That said, anyone with an interest or appreciation in streaming tech should go if only to hear rumors of big things coming down the line.