All it took was an offhand comment to my wife that I was going to TwitchCon to guarantee that she would be coming with me. She is a woman of insatiable curiosity and a burning desire to tell stories that others are not telling. Somehow I knew that indulging her curiosity about Twitch would be the beginning of a bigger adventure.
We knew Twitch.tv was a phenomenon. It is, after all the fourth largest site on the Internet during peak viewing hours. In 2014, Twitch hit a milestone of 100 million users. Still my usage was limited to occasionally checking in to learn about a game I was interested in playing.
At TwitchCon, it became clear that Twitch is more than passive entertainment. Twitch is reality TV on steroids, with millions of stories all happening at once, live before our eyes. Unlike TV, however, the viewers get to be part of the show.
A powerful triumvirate of streamer, viewers, and game creators holds the Twitch community together and out of this potent mix comes everything from entertainment and inspiration to political debate and at times unruly shenanigans.
For stories about people who refuse to give up, look no further than NoHandsKen. A former construction worker, Ken became a quadriplegic after a pair of 2x4s from a building he was working on fell on his head from five stories above. Ken depends on a ventilator to breath, but that doesn’t prevent him from being a menace in games like Diablo III, League of Legends, and Starcraft. He has also won some poker tournaments.
The individual stories are endless and compelling, and together they make up an epic tale about the evolution of human communication. Twitch represents the grand democratization of broadcasting. eSports may well foretell the beginning of the end of the spectator sporting events as we know them.
This is why Amazon paid almost a billion for Twitch, a seemingly preposterous amount of money, and why they are taking a hands-off approach to the site. Mainstream entertainment may dismiss Twitch, but Amazon knows how important this new era of broadcasting will be and they don’t want to mess up its poster child.
Going to TwitchCon was for me a gateway into Planet Twitch and all the excitement of that world, as well as an awakening about how little I really knew. As I learn more, I plan to use this site as a place to collect my thoughts, highlight interesting stuff and share a growing collection of useful and shiny objects. I have no idea what my wife will write though I hope it won’t require me to bail her out of jail. Again.
We do hope you’ll join us for the ride and use this space to share your own impressions as well as any shiny objects you find in your own explorations.