Beachcon 2017. Photo courtesy of Beachcon.
Thousands of gamers are expected to head to an industrial area of northwest Long Beach this weekend where a 16,000-square-foot esport arena and live broadcast stage will host the annual gaming festival, Beachcon.
What began in 2005 as a student-run LAN party (a gathering of people with computers or game consoles establishing a local area network connection to play multiplayer video games) under Cal State Long Beach (CSULB)’s Housing and Residential Life department, has now grown into a community-run convention for the first time ever, dedicated to showcasing the best of video gaming in Long Beach, according to organizers.
The convention also includes diverse staff hailing from as far as San Diego, Utah and even Vancouver, said Beachcon’s chief director Cat Tompkins.
Held usually at The Pointe inside CSULB’s Walter Pyramid, Beachcon outgrew the facility. Organizers said thousands attended the two-day convention in 2016 and 2017 inside a space meant for a couple hundred people.
This year, Beachcon has also partnered with two new groups: the Long Beach-based indie production facility Thunder Studios, which launched a gaming division this March known as Thunder Gaming, and American Video Game League (AVGL).
The production facility built a dedicated 16,000-square-foot esports arena and live broadcast stage within its 150,000-square-foot production space to “develop, produce, and promote original programming in the gaming category,” according to a release in late January.
Tompkins said Thunder Studios has also brought out an amazing array of partners and people to make the event happen.
Aside from these two partnerships, Beachcon will also host a Southern California College/High School Esports Fair to connect colleges and high school organizations to collaborate and promote recruitment.
Local nonprofit Anxiety Gaming will also be back, this time to run a rest/offline lounge area. The fest will also feature an artist alley and cosplay contest.
Beachcon will take place Saturday, April 14 from noon to 1:00AM and Sunday, April 15 from noon to 10:00PM. While free in previous years on campus, tickets to Beachcon are $5 each day to cover venue fees.
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Thunder Studios is located at 20434 South Santa Fe Avenue.