Every year around the October/November period, I get really excited to participate in a big convention in sunny California. I will be able to see different panels, competitions and e-games hosted all through the day. I participate in this convention every year, but unlike what you might think, I am not spending loads of money on flights from the UK to the USA; spending even more money on hotels or a very expensive ticket to this event called Blizzcon. Instead I watch it from the comfort of my own home, whether it’s on my computer screen or I’m streaming it from another device to my TV while wearing the comfiest pair of jogging trousers and hoodie. Instead I follow this convention through an item called ‘the virtual ticket’.
Blizzard and Blizzcon
Since October 2005, this convention has been held in Anaheim, California. Blizzcon is an event where the fan base gets a preview of upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games and content, there are cosplay contests and demos of new games or their expansions, Q&A sessions and panels. It’s a place for the fans of the games to come together and celebrate their love for the games and the characters from those franchises.
In the past, conventions like these were only open to those who were lucky enough to get a ticket and physically go to Anaheim. However, in 2009 Blizzard introduced the virtual ticket. People who purchased this ticket were able to follow the panels while they were being live streamed through the internet, giving people who could not attend the convention the chance to still see all the panels. Over the years this service has improved greatly and for those of us who are in different time zones, there is no need to stay up until the early hours of the morning, they can just pick the panels they missed and watch them at a different time that is more convenient. Blizzard has extended the service of the virtual ticket by also adding some virtual goodies for the Blizzard games they created, making the deal even more tempting.
Is it worth it?
Now some people might think this is just money grabbing nonsense from a big gaming company and I can absolutely see where they are coming from with that thought. However, no one is forced into buying this ticket. No one who plays any of the Blizzard games is at a disadvantage for not buying the ticket. The people who want to partake in the event, but aren’t able to be there physically now have the chance to do so. If they are happy to pay the money for it, then this is probably the best solution for them.
From my personal experience, I have bought a Blizzcon ticket every year it was available and never have I regretted it. Have they sometimes made mistakes? Absolutely, especially last year when not all the panels where available for the virtual ticket viewers, but they changed that quickly this year. Also, it’s quite nice to see a band like Muse or the Foo Fighters perform as the final act for a convention.
There are a lot of gaming conventions like E3 and Gamescom that already show snippets of their reveals and panels through platforms like Twitch or their personal YouTube channels, giving the gamers the chance to get hyped for the games that are being announced.
But wouldn’t it be great if we have the same sort of thing for conventions like San Diego Comic-Con? I would love to pay and see those panels and feel part of another great, geeky community where we celebrate everything that us comic- and movie-geeks love. What do you think? Virtual tickets; Yay or nay?