Twitch, prioritizing security ahead of its annual TwitchCon at the end of October, detailed new security plans for the gathering today.
The new policies address new concerns by the Twitch community in light of recent violence at similar events, including the Aug. 26 mass shooting at a Madden NFL tournament in Florida.
Twitch says those attending TwitchCon in San Jose Oct. 26 to 28 will “be subject to bag search and security screening at all designated entrance points.” Backpacks and bags will also have to fit within new restrictions.
“Attendees are allowed to bring in one bag with a maximum size of 12 x 15 x 6 [inches]. If you choose to bring one, it is subject to search during entry,” says an official blog post. “Please leave backpacks, luggage, large bags and bulky clothing at your hotel or home. Backpacks acquired at the show are not eligible for re-entry (including Twitch-branded). There will be a bag check on-site, but space is limited.”
The post doesn’t include whether or not there will be more security guards on site, or if plainclothes officers will be present. The company’s update does say convention organizers are “working closely with San Jose’s local law enforcement, convention staff, and additional security services.” An additional FAQ states that “walkthrough or hand-held scanners will be in operation,” and ‘uniformed security guards and uniformed police [will be] in attendance.”
Security concern after a mass shooting a Madden NFL event in Jacksonville, Florida left three people dead, including the shooter, and multiple wounded. Since then, streamer Guy “Dr.DisRespect” Beahm’s house has reportedly been shot at twice in the past week. Many streamers have spoken out about the violence affecting their community, and the concerns that come with it.
“I may not attend Twitchcon,” Ellohime, a popular streamer, tweeted following Beahm’s story. “This is a difficult decision (and I am still thinking hard on it) but I just wanted to get this out there. Don’t feel safe in America.”
“With all the bad shit happening and shootings left and right at esports events and now at content creators homes,” another Twitch streamer, who goes by Dracontius, tweeted. “Even if I ‘could’ afford to go to TwichCon I am not going. Security needs to be addressed and I just don’t feel safe anymore. Nowhere is sacred. Everyone be safe.”
Still, many people planning to attend TwitchCon are applauding Twitch for speaking out ahead of the event, and putting a focus on heightened security. It’s an important topic, and large discussion the gaming community is having right now about big gathering events. Attendees of PAX West earlier this month criticized the lack of visible security presence in and around the expo. Polygon has reached out to PAX West organizers for more information about what security tactics were used during the show.
“A week [after Jacksonville] we had PAX West that we were attending,” CLG Wish, a professional Fortnite player, said in a video on Twitter. “There were 60,000 attendees and there wasn’t a single security check. There wasn’t a bag check. There wasn’t metal detectors. There weren’t any wands. It kind of feels like the industry takes this as a joke. Going forward, I personally will not be attending events unless they explicitly state their security guidelines. It’s not so much living in fear — I kind of feel like we’re being taken advantage of.”
“I felt so uncomfortable at PAX West because of the complete absence of any type of security check,” one streamer and cosplayer, who goes by Kate, tweeted.
Shannon Plante, a former community manager at Twitch and a notable personality in the sphere, also tweeted about Pax West’s underwhelming security.
“Vote with your attendance,” Plante said. “Do not attend conventions unless they commit to sufficient and consistent security. PAX has it right at East. There’s no excuse to fail at West and South.”
More information about TwitchCon’s security measures, including specifics on what can and can’t be brought into the convention, is in the blog post.