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Thousands of gamers will descend into Gaslamp this weekend for TwitchCon. Here’s what’s happening

Doritos Bowl At TwitchCon 2018
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of Twitch’s most popular gamers before moving platforms earlier this year, plays Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 during the Doritos Bowl 2018 at TwitchCon 2018.
(Robert Reiners / Getty Images)

The streamer’s conference returns to the San Diego Convention Center for the second time, and this year’s crowd will be much larger

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If you happen to see a cluster of costume-wearing tourists reveling in downtown San Diego this weekend, you’ve probably encountered TwitchCon 2019.

The three-day conference, which takes place Friday through Sunday, is for gamers and the (often young) Internet celebrities who’ve made a profession out of live-streaming their games. The event is expected to draw tens of thousands of attendees to the San Diego Convention Center, where conference-goers will attend panels with celebrities, network with artists and gamers, and watch top streamers compete by playing popular games such as Fortnite and League of Legends.

The conference is put on by live-streaming video platform Twitch, which Internet giant Amazon bought in 2014 for over $1 billion. Twitch, which now has over 15 million active users online every day, held its first TwitchCon event in 2015 in San Francisco. About 20,000 people showed up throughout the weekend. This year, Twitch is expecting 25,000 attendees per day.

The fast-growing popularity of the event has been a bit problematic for the conference. The event has moved around to different California cities since its inception, including Long Beach and San Jose. Last year, attendees in San Jose complained of hours-long lines just to get inside the convention. Twitch responded by extending the hours of the event and offering some attendees free tickets.

This year, attendees online have hypothesized that San Diego was chosen for 2019’s conference due to the size of the convention center. A Twitch spokesperson said that was certainly a factor, along with the typical appeal of the city.

“Great weather, good entertainment options in the area, too,” Twitch said in a statement. “We’ll take any excuse to visit.”

This will be the second time the event comes to San Diego, as it was hosted here in 2016 when TwitchCon was a younger event. Back then, the conference was contained to a small section of the convention center. This year, TwitchCon is taking over the entire facility.

For those living vicariously — or curious what TwitchCon is all about — here are some of the top attractions of the weekend:

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Cosplay isn’t just for Comic-Con
TwitchCon
At a past Con, Jeffrey Gates, center, who uses the Twitch handle thekelekter, posed with characters from the video game “Lineage” in the exhibitors hall at TwitchCon.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Cosplay, or costume play where people dress up as their favorite game characters, is a thing at TwitchCon. The event will hold a cosplay competition on Saturdayat 4 p.m. There’s a $15,000 grand prize for the contest’s winner, plus $4,000 prizes for each category winner: needlework, armor, FX and larger than life.

Last year’s winner, Casey Renee, spent more than 550 hours patterning, sewing, and placing thousands of beads and sequins on her costume of Amethyst (by the artist Sakizou).

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The party at Petco Park with Lil Nas X and Blink-182
Guitarist-singer Tom DeLonge is shown in happier days with Blink-182. (Sean M. Haffey / Union-Tribune)
Blink-182 guitarist Matt Skiba, left, with Mark Hoppus, center, and Travis Barker.
(Blink-182)

Twitch is teaming up with Columbia Records to put on a massive party at Petco Park, where attendees will get to see performances from headliners Lil Nas X, Blink-182, Madeon, Au/Ra and Y2K. The party takes place Saturday at 7 p.m. There will be food, drinks, music, and, of course, games.

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TwitchCon’s version of American Idol — Stream Star — will end in record deal

Finalists for Twitch’s singing competition, Stream Star, will compete on TwitchCon’s biggest stage this year on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Columbia Records and Twitch will crown a “Twitch Music: Stream Star” champion with a $20,000 cash prize and a record deal with Columbia.


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Brittany Meiling covers startups and small business for The San Diego Union-Tribune. She’s been covering early-stage entrepreneurship in San Diego since 2014, when she joined the San Diego Business Journal to cover tech and biotech. There, she created the Startup Page business column that won an award for Best Recurring Feature in a national contest by The Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Brittany also has a long history covering the biopharma industry, most recently covering breaking stories for Endpoints News. Other topics she’s covered include: finance, clean tech, food and beverage.
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