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Esports Day: Developing Competitive Communities through Conventions


Rick Thiher (Event Director, Combo Breaker & Esports Program Manager, Twitch)

Location: Room 3002, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 19

Time: 2:10pm - 2:40pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits - Get your pass now!

Topic: Business & Marketing

Format: Tutorial

Tutorials: Esports Day

Vault Recording: Video

Celebrating the drive of competitive players is the backbone of tournament ecosystems, but often isn't the primary focus of esports events. What does it mean to produce an esports gathering that isn't designed around viewership? What does it mean for brands aligned with the space? How does it serve the experiences of the player base and the culture? Is there value in refinement over growth? Twitch Event Director, Rick Thiher, will explore how the events he helped develop, particularly the fighting game convention Combo Breaker in Illinois, have helped empower communities by celebrating and improving niche activities. He will share how his goal has, and will continue to be, improving event experiences that instill camaraderie and create life-long community members; so that one day the culture is pervasive enough to support non-endemic fandom. It's a goal he'd like to see shared in esports at large.


Attendees will learn why solidifying/developing camaraderie and fandom within competitive gaming through convention events is of the utmost importance in esports.

Intended Audience

Event organizers, esports onlookers, players, and anyone interested in fighting game tournament culture.