We just got back from TwitchCon, and as always it was good times with good people. There is an energy and supportive vibe that permeates the show in a way unlike any other. However, it seems the show has a bit of an identity crisis. Is it a consumer show, where streamers attend to play (and show their audiences) new games? Is it a community event, where they just gather to party? Or is it an industry event, where professional-minded content creators come to learn about how to make a living doing what they love? Currently it’s a mix of all three – and there is nothing wrong with that – but we get the sense game publishers/developers incurring hefty (and rising) costs to show off their games, and aspiring streamers spending hard-earned dough and valuable time to attend, need to know where to put their resources. As an agency working to get streamers to play games we’re working on, it’s become more difficult to make strong recommendations to our clients if they should invest in presenting at the show, despite the growth of TwitchCon (attendance was up 40% this year, according to Twitch PR). Right now, its seems that if you have a new game, we recommend a modest presence (perhaps even behind closed doors) with the goal of spending quality time with top streamers. If you have an established game or franchise, it’s crucial to go really big and creative to stand out. No matter what your game is, we believe it’s best to go in with the objective of building relationships with streamers.
The free-for-all nature of TwitchCon 2017 was especially apparent with IRL streamers causing a ruckus, but considering this is a hyper-social show dedicated to live entertainment, how were they to know that their behavior was wrong? From their perspective, they felt their audiences wanted to get special access to the Twitch personalities they like. If this was an “industry” show like GDC, this kind of behavior would never have been tolerated.
We hope TwitchCon 2018 better caters to the mid-tier and to-tier streamers, because ultimately their ability to entertain is what drives the whole platform (there were some notable no-shows this year). Twitch is run by some of the brightest people in the biz, no doubt they are giving all of this thought as they plan for 2018, so we can’t wait to see what’s next.