I know what you’re thinking. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little. Blizzcon 2017 was just announced a couple days ago. Tickets aren’t even on sale yet. Why would I even mention something as silly as the Saturday Blizzcon hosting gig?
Well, after last year’s fiasco, it probably wouldn’t hurt for Blizzard to start giving this a bit of early consideration. Assuming they haven’t already, of course. If they were smart, they would have started flipping through their rolladeck to see if there was anyone willing to return their calls before the body of Thomas Middleditch got cold after Blizzcon 2016.
You remember him, right? He’s the guy from the HBO TV show Silicon Valley that drew question marks when he stepped onstage at Blizzcon 2016. His schtick ticked all the boxes – he was a nerd, a gamer, a bit awkward. Someone that Blizzard fans were supposed to relate to. Unfortunately, his comedy routine fell flat, and the fans shat on him for it. I’m not going to say bullied, but he was ridden hard. He was smashed to the point that, not only did former host Jay Mohr tweet his support for Middleditch, but Thomas felt the need to defend himself on his Instagram.
So what’s the move then? I had a couple of ideas in my post that I made just after Blizzcon 2016, and I’ll just touch on them again here:
- Blizzard seems to like having some kind of celebrity in that hosting spot. Why? Is it to attract more people to buy the stream? Fine, but stop getting comedians. Or at least comedians who don’t play any Blizzard games, or aren’t familiar with the product. Do you really need someone to make jokes at the contestants of the dance or cosplay contests? Do you need someone to do five minutes of stand-up to warm up the crowd before the contests? If ever there was a crowd that was already filled with HYPE, it’s a Blizzcon crowd. They don’t need a warm up act to set the mood. So if you just want someone with some mainstream celebrity status to slap on ads, there’s plenty of celebrities who have admitted that they play WoW – Warcraft’s own Rob Kazinsky, Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill, Fast and Furious’s Vin Diesel and former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. And that’s just for starters.
- Saturday’s hosting gig is mostly to cover competitions, so have a contest for the hosting gig! There is no shortage of people putting out video and audio content as it relates to Blizzard games – podcasts, Youtube channels, Twitch streams. Give them a chance to compete to star on the biggest stage a Blizzard content creator can appear on – CENTER STAGE AT BLIZZCON, BABY!
There are about 230 days before Blizzcon 2017. It probably wouldn’t hurt to start looking now. I doubt Blizz will find a former host actively willing to volunteer for the gig. Why not change things up this year?
Fingers crossed, I’ll be there to see it unfold LIVE.
Do you have a favorite host from a past Blizzcon? Who do you think would be a good host for Blizzcon 2017?
I see by my calendar, my various guilds chat, and my @RokkTalk twitter feed that Blizzcon 2015 is just a few days away. I love going to Blizzcon, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend two of them in the past. It’s a great experience where for two days you get to celebrate Blizzard gaming culture, put real faces to the virtual names you’ve spent so much time with online (and perhaps stalking), and get drunk repeatedly with other socially recluse gamer types. It’s like wrapping yourself in a warm nerd blanket for two days, and that’s quite a bit of all right if I do say so myself.
Now due to poor luck and a poorer wallet, I won’t be able to make it to Blizzcon this year. However, I am definitely hopefully optimistic that I will be making my Blizzcon return next year at Blizzcon 2016 (assuming they have a ‘con next year, and that they have it around the same time of year as Blizzcon 2015).
It’s probably a bit premature to start speculating as far as who might be hosting Blizzcon next year. Good social form suggests that at the very least, we wait for this year’s ‘con to happen before looking ahead to next year. Otherwise it comes across a little like calling dibs on your sick grandmother’s good china before she’s even passed away. It can come off as a little insensitive, is what I’m saying.
With the Warcraft movie being released next summer, there’s going to be plenty of focus on Blizzard Entertainment from the general, non-gaming world and their applicable media. The tangential hope on Blizzard’s part is that people will like the movie, then want to check out the game that the movie is based on. Blizzcon could have quite a few more eyes on it than in previous years. Plus, depending on when they have it, they may have some big things to discuss – expansions, Overwatch, a Warcraft movie sequel.
So it would make sense for Blizzard to get a big name host for such an event. A name with some real star power behind it. A major celebrity, not just like a niche celebrity of geek culture. Outside of Felicia Day, there are only a handful of geek culture types who have both the celebrity stature and the ability not to melt down into a socially awkward pile of nerve goo while standing in front of twenty thousand screaming fans.
That’s why Blizzard needs to sign up Vin Diesel to host Blizzcon 2016.
No, I’m serious. Here’s three reasons that show just how serious.
#3. He Brings Mainstream Attention.
Thanks to the Fast & Furious franchise, Vin Diesel is a needle mover. He’s the kind of A-list celebrity that gets people’s attention no matter what he does. Unlike Kardashian types, he actually does it by working on multi-million dollar movies and earning fans, rather than, uh, whatever these Kardashian things do for attention.
Vin Diesel’s social media muscles are as impressive as his real ones (when he’s not in dad body mode). He’s got about 5 million Facebook followers, and over 12 million followers on Instagram. Compared to the social media numbers that Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton have, which are respectable to say the least, Vin Diesel puts up some beast numbers.
Now you take a mainstream celebrity like Vin, and you have him mention this Blizzcon thing once in a while. It’s going to reach more than just the “geek niche” ears. It’s reaching everybody. That kind of promotion is definitely something that I’m sure Blizzard would not shy away from, especially with their movie coming out in June. Blizzcon hype might not help promote the movie (unless Blizzcon hits around the same time the movie does), but the real movie money comes with the DVD sales. And if the movie launches in June, the DVD should be dropping around Blizzcon time. It couldn’t hurt to have Vin post a pic of himself holding a Special Edition Warcraft DVD to his 12 million Instagram followers.
#2. He Can Make Blizzcon Feel Badass.
One of the things that makes a good host is that they are relatable. More often than not, stereotypes exist for a reason. So when you look at guys like Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick, and you listen to them talk about their past, you get the feeling that “Oh they’re just like us.” They are geek culture personified, and they’re just the kind of people you expect would be hosting Blizzcon. They are a reflection of what you think of when you think “this guy plays Blizzard Games.”
Dominic Toretto. Richard B. Riddick. Xander Cage. Hell, let’s throw Groot in there too just for good measure. Vin Diesel is known for playing badass characters. Plus, acting aside, the man is built like an Orc. Sounds like one too. Having him host Blizzcon would be like giving it a badass seal of approval. It would reflect not just the geeky aspect of Blizzard entertainment, but the badass side of it – especially with the addition of IP’s like Overwatch, which are less fantasy and more “shoot people in the face”, run-and-gun style.
#1. He Has The Resume.
At first glance, Vin Diesel seems like the absolute last guy who should be hosting a video game convention. A muscle car convention, maybe. He’s an action movie star who has starred in multi-million (and damn near billion) dollar movies. He appears unrelatable to the typical WoW player. In fact, he looks like the kind of jock who would be giving swirlies to gamer geek types back in high school.
But that’s where you’re wrong. You see, Vin Diesel is one of us and has been for quite some time. Much like previous hosts Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton, Vin Diesel also has a foot in geek culture. He has discussed in the past, and not-so-distant past, his love of Dungeons and Dragons. Check out this video where he plays D&D with the Nerdist crew.
There’s something about watching a big dude like Vin get his flex on when he lands a critical hit. Something awesome.
Sure, so he can roll the dice. But what’s his gaming cred like? Well, the man just happens to have founded a video game development company, Tigon Studios, that makes video games based around his Riddick movie franchise or his D&D characters.
But what about WoW? Shouldn’t someone who hosts Blizzcon actually know something about the game? I’m sure Jay Mohr would disagree, and he hosted Blizzcon twice. But fear not. Unlike Jay “Did he or didn’t he?” Mohr, Vin Diesel has actually played World of Warcraft. And he did it with Paul Walker.
So yeah, I think he has the resume.
Perhaps you agree with me. Or perhaps you think I should increase my medication dosage. There’s no way I can know this. Let me know in the comments below if you think Vin Diesel might make a good Blizzcon host. If not Vin, then who?