I recently attended TwitchCon 2022, October 7th through October 9th at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA. This year’s event was a return: the main Twitch gathering is often held in San Diego, alternating between that and other locations. This was also the first time since 2020 that TwitchCon was back in person. Luckily, Techtober happened to be on a weekend where I wasn’t traveling, so I bought my three-day pass and tickets to the official TwitchCon party (Megan Thee Stallion as featured artist). Today, I will share with you some of the key takeaways from the conference.
What is TwitchCon?
TwitchCon is an annual event that brings together the Twitch community to celebrate creators and gaming in a way that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else, as many of these streamers mostly stream from home and specifically leave their home streaming setups to meet fans. I met a lot of people, from wannabe streamers, to famous streamers who make money like nobody’s business and have millions of fans. On the main stage, known as “Rivals Hall”, the world’s biggest streamers played various popular games against each other and participated in other events such as tug of war, pong hat, paper airplanes, charades and other physical games with fans. Gaming is the main focus of Twitch and TwitchCon, which was not lacking, but Twitch as a platform has also expanded beyond that. However, many brands also attended, clearly to market to Twitch ‘Partners’ (the company’s committed streamers). One of the biggest surprises for me was seeing brands like Chevron, State Farm, Capital One, Velveeta, McDonalds, Wendy’s, and NYX Professional makeup at the conference, really pushing into the community as brands that understand what Twitch and TwitchCon are all about.
What about computers?
Most of the major players in the world use two computers to play their games: one for playing the game and one for running the stream. With this not being available as an app on Twitch consoles (without a capture card connected to a PC), it was no surprise that PCs were the dominant platform at TwitchCon. Most small-time streamers, like myself, use a single computer to feed everything via Streamlabs, OBS, or NVIDIA Shadowplay to one of those two platforms.
It was clear at TwitchCon that the PC is king. Creators, such as Twitch Partners, use computers to stream, edit and upload their content. Specifically, most use desktop computers for these tasks, I don’t recall seeing many laptops at TwitchCon. The only two consoles I saw were at ViewSonic’s booth: a PS5 running Smash Bros and a Switch.
All sorts of PC component companies and system builders were at the show. PC Builder PowerGPU was there, as well as RGB Custom PC, iBuypower, Starforge and Lenovo Legion. As for component/accessory companies, they included Western Digital, Gigabyte Aorus, Razer, Logitech G and Logitech for Creators, Thrustmaster, Audio-Technica, Shure, Hyte and HyperX.
The HyperX booth was particularly interesting. The company demonstrated its new position in the HP family by leveraging HP’s 3D printing capabilities to print custom keyboards for various professional sports league teams. I thought crossing the teams’ respective logos with the HyperX branding was a particularly interesting way to showcase its capabilities.
However, the only computer company that really impressed me with their presence at TwitchCon was Intel. Intel was literally everywhere at TwitchCon. If brand awareness was the name of the game at TwitchCon, NVIDIA and AMD were practically non-existent as far as most attendees were concerned. That said, many systems still had Intel 13th Gen CPUs were paired with NVIDIA GPUs, so at least there was a presence for them. In addition to the NVIDIA systems, Intel also showed off many Arc-based systems at TwitchCon. Intel also had an Intel Gaming truck with Intel NUC computers, which the company set up in the back of the convention center with Arc graphics cards.
Before TwitchCon, Intel also threw an off-site party promoting the new 13th New Gen CPUs and Arc GPUs. Many of Intel’s closest system builders were also in attendance, showing off their latest systems. Before TwitchCon, Intel also had four simultaneous live streams of different Twitch streamers building computers; it was quite an operation to observe. I had the opportunity to speak with Intel’s Marcus Kennedy, Intel’s GM Gaming Division and tour the entire Intel Creator Challenge and TwitchCon Party. There were easily over 100 computers at the offsite event. Intel and its partners also had all kinds of giveaways and promotions. For example, people can upgrade their computers with the help of Thermaltake’s Mike Fierheller or ASUS’ Juan Jose Guerrero (also known as JJ). It was great to see people upgrading their PCs at the pre-Intel-TwitchCon event and it was also great to see all the different systems people brought in to upgrade.
Intel also showed off a concept where it placed an Intel NUC PC inside a full desktop PC to create a unique, more compact system for smoother streaming. Although it was only a concept, Intel said that some system builders like Origin PC and CLX could build such systems soon if gamers want the option. I also saw some of these systems at Intel’s booth on the TwitchCon show floor, where they were very well received. Intel also sponsored the Lenovo Legion booth, the aptly named “pit of death,” after several people were injured fighting on platforms over a foam pit, which made national news.
Along with AT&T Fiber on TwitchCon’s main floor, Intel also sponsored the PC Gaming LAN, providing a high-quality, low-latency gaming experience for TwitchCon. I was really impressed with the sheer volume of PCs I saw at the event, and the high percentage of them being Intel-based (mostly 13.th Gen processors). On top of all that, Intel sponsored more booths and Corsair shared the same space with Activision, including a small 6 v 6 multiplayer LAN for the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare II launched this month.
Overall, I think TwitchCon is an essential experience for anyone involved in the world of streaming. Although I didn’t go to the parties sponsored by the biggest players on the platform, it was really nice to get together with many of my friends during my PC gaming time. TwitchCon really felt like a gathering of different PC component vendors and PC builders, similar to what I would expect at a show like CES or Computex. It was refreshing to see a PC experience aimed at creators and to hear so many people talking about building and configuring their PCs for gaming and streaming. The absence of AMD and Nvidia from the show was glaring and surprising, a missed opportunity to reach the creators that both companies claim to be targeting with their products. I truly believe Intel’s presence and brand awareness efforts in the Twitch community will pay dividends for the chipmaker.
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