Wednesday, June 11, 2014

To Anyone Who Can Make This Happen,

We no longer live in the days when the best way for our news to be delivered is by a boy on a bicycle and a radio broadcast that crackles its way across the Pacific. We live in an age when the internet can allow us to watch live events anywhere in the world. So why are our gaming conventions going out of their way not to broadcast their events?

Many of these conventions sell out months in advance leaving a wide swath of gamers who would love to be involved but simply can't due things like fire regulations. Realistically you can't provide us with the experience of being there - at least not until we create a Holosuite that allows us to be there even when we're not - so how about providing us with a meaningful alternative.

Here's some ideas that I think would work.

Have all of your seminars, announcements, and non-interactive events streamed live on your website and then stored there so that people can come back through and watch them again, and again, and again. 

Think about it like this. Youtube hosts videos from millions of users - many of whom have been to your shows and recorded your events - that make money off each view through advertising and the affiliate program. Why aren't you? Why haven't these conventions installed great webcams and microphones to stream these events onto Twitch and then upload them to Youtube? Why aren't they posting these videos on their websites so that those of us who couldn't make it to E3, PAX Prime, GenCon, or ComicCon able to watch them at home?

They're leaving money on the table and I don't understand why. 

After the premier of a new product at the convention open up a webstore that allows consumers to purchase the product and watch a demonstration of it.

In a lot of ways this seems like an easy move. 

Let's say you have a game premier at Origins and the people who make it are going to provide a demo of how to play it and showcase its features to anyone who comes by. Why not film all of that and post it on your website so that people can watch the video and purchase the product at home?

The convention would take a cut off each sale and the people who make the game have a brand new way to sale it that simply shows them doing what they were going to do anyway: demoing the game. 

Have a daily news show from the convention that breaks down the most important events of the day.

While this wouldn't work for the smallest of conventions it would be a god send for large shows. Think of it this way, even if you're at the convention you only have so much time to attend the various events, games, and contests. So why not produce a show that allows both your attendees and home viewers to have a complete run down of all the great things going on at your show?

You could show off the amazing cosplay, tournament winners and their final matches, announcements, and all the other things that happen at your show - and throw a little advertising in there to make some money on it all. Seems like a great way to get people to want to come to your show and to get excited about all the fun that actually happens there.

Seriously guys, make this happen and I will totally buy you a fictional beer from my imaginary bar!


  1. I think there are a few issues standing in the way of this kind of innovation. They are likely not insurmountable, but inertia is likely keeping people from trying.

    1) WiFi access -- Believe it or not, convention centers and hotels charge an outrageous amount of money to convention organizers for internet access (wired runs to convention event rooms or wireless). It's a supply/demand thing. The event location knows they have the stranglehold on the internet access and charge accordingly... So anything that is not directly required for running the con (such as the registration room) usually does not have network access. This is probably the biggest hurdle.

    2) Revenue vs. time -- In terms of level of effort to do this, would the time required to set this up be better spent improving some other aspect of the con? Similarly, will that time spent generate enough (or any) additional revenue to make the time investment worthwhile? This is also a major hurdle. If the con organizers aren't certain this will add profit, they will likely place it low on the priority list.

    3) Technical knowledge -- while it's getting a lot easier to record and upload, or even stream, you still need a staff member that has the time and technical know-how to coordinate. It is more likely that staff member has their hands full with the event web site, registration and other technical needs of the con.

    For #1, as mobile phone bandwidth becomes less expensive and more ubiquitous, this will force event organizers to proved better high-speed access at lower prices. But it hasn't happened yet (I know a little about this because my company organizers a [non gamer] event every year).

    For #3, this will also be less of an issue as mobile apps (technology in general) makes this easier for even the most basic of technology users. This is probably the lowest hurdle at this time.

    Number 2 will continue to be a hurdle. Convention organizers will continue to focus on their "core product", so to speak. Any effort that can be made to improve the attendees experience of the event will out rank any ideas or effort required for non-attendees, especially if there is no clear revenue gain. Some convention committee needs to be willing to take that chance, or find a volunteer that will handle the efforts so it does not take resources away from anything else at the con.

    The idea is a good one, but needs a convention organizer to buy into it.

    1. Such is the nature of my life. I come up with a decent idea and money comes along to put the kibosh on it.

      Ah well, I think I'll just have to get off my ass and work on finding a way to make it reasonable to do this.

  2. Here's one point: if all the panels were recorded, I would never skip a game to sit in on a panel. Never.

    1. That would be both a good and bad thing. Gaming attendance would remain high, but panel attendance might sink. Of course, there will likely always be fans of whatever panel speakers or topics are being present who will want to be there in person, but if I were an organizer, I'd be hesitant to drain an audience away from a panel that I knew may not be a packed house.


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