The third ever TwitchCon brought together players and artists from all over the world who broadcast themselves on the leading streaming platform. Being the most coveted way to reach the audiences corporations are desperately seeking means some big money and marketing power wants you to know about their next big thing. I spent hours on the floor sitting in over dozens of comfortable chairs talking about VR, artist monetization platforms, the latest in stream tech, and video games. Here are five things you should know about coming out of TwitchCon 2017.
Star Wars: Jedi Challenges
What’s better than stepping into the virtual world of Star Wars? Having that world brought to you. Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is not a traditional virtual reality game. In fact, it isn’t a VR game at all. This is Augmented Reality, meaning the tools used to play this game broadcast it in your world. As you strap on Lenovo’s futuristic welder looking headset, you’re never taken out of the real world. Connecting the headset to an app on your phone brings the characters to wherever you might be. Want to go to your local park and fight Kylo Ren? You can do that. The graphical fidelity of the game looks like a Star Wars hologram which is a good or bad thing depending who you ask. As the game began and Kylo Ren appeared in front of me, I never lost a sense of where I was which means you’ll be able to play this anywhere and keep a grip on reality. Less stubbed toes and animals accidentally kicked. During my demo, I didn’t see any large PC’s running the game and the rep from software developer, Legion, let me know the game was indeed running off a mobile device. Combat with the lightsaber peripheral is intuitive. In training, you line up your lightsaber’s light to match the counter direction on screen. Then after a successful block, you swing for the fences on Kylo. The potential for this tech is incredible. It’s available for pre-order and set to release in 2018.
Bebylon Battle Royal
Kite & Lightning might not sound familiar to you, but this tiny independent studio have been making VR experiences since the tech’s early consumer inception. They’ve developed such VR experiences as Insurgent VR: Shatter Reality for Lionsgate and GE’s Neuro Power which gave audiences an inside look at how the brain works. Now they’re set to do something really crazy. Their current project, Bebylon Battle Royal, takes players into a fantasy world where immortality is the norm. As man has conquered death, they forgot to come up with a way for newborns to grow up. These immortal babies have broken apart from adults and created their own society where popularity is power. How do you get to be more popular? By beating other babies in battle machine arena combat. Think of the game as something similar to driving the mini remote controlled boats at theme parks. Using touch controllers, players step into a virtual arena and have their “baby” slam, throw projectiles, and taunt their opponent. While the game is still early in development, it’s already showing a lot of promise. Combat is fun and frantic, the world is imaginatively funny and definitely crudely geared to adults. Every time I was trounced by one of the devs I played against, I could look at the crowd visibly turning on me. The game even gives you a way to flip them off in order to save some face. With online spectating and wrestling promo like taunts, this is going to be one awesome multiplayer VR experience.
Bebylon Battle Royal will be in beta for players to try sometime early next year with release info to follow soon after.
Arena of Valor
A mobile game developed by Tencent, Arena of Valor is something comic book fans will definitely want to keep an eye on. The 5-vs-5 multiplayer online battle arena game puts players in a Lord of the Rings scale battle against players from around the world. With what looked like hundreds of different characters, several unique classes, and even more unique abilities; the game can appear offputtingly complex but that was far from the case. When you pick up Arena of Valor, charts remind you what classes have advantages over others making it almost foolproof. Once you jump into a match the onscreen commands are easy to get a feel for, even planning out a strategy with strangers was simple through the game’s voice chat feature. As your team fights enemies on the map, you’ll try to take the opposition’s base in order to win the game. With defenses including mythical beasts available at the touch of a button, it’s easier said than done. Unlike other games in this genre, Arena of Valor, works your LTE well without completely dominating your bandwidth and with matches lasting anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes that’s definitely a big consideration.
What’s the kicker for comic book fans? Coming to Arena of Valor are DC Comics characters, playable in-game. While it’s still early for game’s developer, Tencent, to give details on the DC Comics partnership; we did get to see a bit of it via Wonder Woman, Joker, and a medieval tricked out Batman.
Arena of Valor is out now in Europe and parts of Asia. The game’s North American release will be soon but players can pre-register for this free to play game on its website.
Artists Can Make Money
A company called GameWisp which makes tools for streamers to better build and monetize their audience is also giving designers and artists a way to generate income from stream culture. Streamers needing their websites built, video graphics packages, even logo illustration; can post their job on GameWisp’s board. Those looking to hire an artist can take bids then pay through the site and download contracted art. The site even has a process in place for the connected parties to go through revisions, even the ability to mediate any discrepancies. With the growing number of artists residing at conventions all over the country, GameWisp’s commission program could be a great way to add a source of income. If you’re an artist looking for a place to put your skills to use in a professional platform then GameWisp’s commissions might just be for your.
It’s Quiz Time
Part of what makes Twitch such a vibrant community is real-time interaction with viewers. It’s Quiz Time lets streamers compete with up to 10,000 people in the ultimate game of trivia. The game is fully customizable for more intimate rounds of play. On a console, up to 8 players can simultaneously play together using their smartphones. Take selfies, hide your answers, and share with your friends. Topics range from current events, pop culture, sports, and history with developer Snap-Finger-Click able to update the game as needed. With over 25,000 questions to start, groups can go weeks without running into the same query twice. Part of Twitch’s community is based on coming together and nothing brings people together like friendly trivia with 10,000 friends.
TwitchCon 2017 was without a doubt the best convention to ever come to Long Beach, California. Streaming as a culture encompasses a circus tent’s worth of different arts and this show managed to represent all of them in some way. Spectacle sized booths promoting games including an arena-sized eSports village, panels highlighting the most popular streamers on Twitch, and even a mini artist penthouse complete with on-floor gallery exhibit were just the beginnings of what TwitchCon had to offer. The fanbase and community took over the beautiful downtown Long Beach area, it felt like there were at least three different official parties every night. Get out to a TwitchCon or VidCon and perhaps the most admirable thing you’ll notice is the true sense of one community, no status tiers or barriers between creators and fans. In today’s Comic Con world it’s a sight to behold. Follow Twitch for all the latest updates on when and where next year’s show will take place.