Streamers, gamers and community take over San Jose for TwitchCon
With the fourth annual convention held this past weekend at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, TwitchCon was the place to be for tens of thousands of an ever-growing internet community.
The San Francisco-based livestreaming platform Twitch kicked off their convention on Friday, Oct. 26, with a keynote announcing a plethora of new features for their community.
Among the new features was Squad Stream, allowing up to four streamers the ability to collaborate together in a single view on Twitch. Viewers will be able to use Squad Stream on desktop or mobile, as well as subscribe to and follow streamers. The feature is expected to go live later this year with select streamers testing it out soon.
A partnership with Snapchat was announced, as its newest desktop app allows Twitch streamers the ability to use Snapchat Lenses on stream. The Snap desktop app and custom Twitch Extension are available today.
Community was a common theme throughout Twitch co-founder and CEO Emmett Shear’s keynote presentation.
“This weekend, we’re here to celebrate all the streamers and fans that make Twitch unique,” Shear said. “At any given moment, on average, there are over a million people tuning into Twitch. If we were on TV, that would put us in the top five cable networks with ESPN and MSNBC.”
The streaming platform gained 235,000 new affiliates as well as 6,800 new Twitch partners this past year, according to Shear.
“I personally felt this year had a much greater sense of community overall,” said Twitch streamer PostCubicleKyle. “The Twitch Yearly event at the end of the convention included some of my friends and made me feel proud to be a part of both the website and community.”
With gaming among the core roots of the platform, the convention was home to live esports events throughout the weekend.
Three of the biggest games out today held their respective competitions with the “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds” Broadcaster Royale, the “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” Doritos Bowl and the “Fortnite” Fall Skirmish finals.
Tens of thousands gathered throughout the convention to watch the world’s top esports athletes compete at the highest level.
With gaming superstars Shroud and Ninja in attendance throughout the weekend and competing as well, attendees were more often than not left with their jaws dropped watching the gameplay live.
Perhaps the biggest gaming event of the weekend was the “Fortnite” Fall Skirmish Finals, with an entire convention hall dedicated to the pop culture phenomenon.
The competition ran the entirety of the weekend with Friday and Saturday used as qualifiers to get into the main event on Sunday. The Grand Finals sported a prize pool of nearly $2 million.
At any given time, the South Hall of the convention center was jam-packed, with a line throughout the day just to get in and watch the top “Fortnite” athletes from around the world compete.
FaZe Clan’s duo of Dennis “Cloak” Lepore and Turner “Tfue” Tenney won the event, taking home $510,000 and became the top two highest earners so far in competitive “Fortnite.” The organization ended up netting $787,500 through the weekend.
However, FaZe Clan wasn’t only the talk of the Skirmish.
Ghost Gaming had all nine of their athletes qualify for the Grand Finals and place within the top 12.
“Having every single Ghost player qualify is nuts, and not only that, but to have them all top 12,” said Ghost Snood of his team’s weekend.
Ghost Snood and his duo partner Ghost Thwifo placed sixth at the Grand Finals, taking home $30,000.
“I was a little disappointed actually that we placed sixth. A couple games didn’t go our way but I’m still glad we did good,” he said. “Me and Thwifo both know we have a lot more to offer and we will just have to show that in the future.”
As for what he thought of the “Fortnite” Hall and the event itself, the 16-year-old pro player had nothing but positive things to say.
“The event as a whole was really awesome, meeting everyone that you played with and against every day was dope. Also, just the atmosphere was so positive and it was so fun to just play,” said Ghost Snood.
“Fortnite” now ranks sixth in total prize pool money given out in competitive gaming history, despite the competitive scene being only four months old.
For SF State, TwitchCon was a place for networking and catching up with their favorite streamers.
“This year’s TwitchCon overall was a success,” said gaming club president Dan Janes. “The gaming club made some new contacts for possible partnerships and the members all had a lot of fun seeing their favorite streamers along with the latest in the gaming field.”