Since the 2016 edition of MINECON at the Anaheim Convention Center sold out, fans of the convention’s video game — Minecraft — were looking forward to the announcement of the host destination for the 2017 experience. However, those who were craving the opportunity to meet fellow video-game enthusiasts in person will have to settle for creating digital connections this year. “The Minecraft community is still growing, and there’s only a certain number of players we can host while keeping the friendly, intimate community atmosphere that’s made previous MINECON so special,” Owen Jones, director of creative communications at Mojang AB, wrote when unveiling the online-only experience. “With that in mind, we’re pleased to announce MINECON Earth — an interactive show that will take the best bits of our previous events and incorporate them into a condensed show dedicated to all things Minecraft.”
While many fans on social media applauded the move, there were some who questioned the decision to replace the face-to-face convention that launched in 2010.
Frustrated fans are understandably skeptical of the new experience. The original convention offered two days of programming, but the new “interactive show” will not provide much time for real interaction — MINECON Earth will last only about 90 minutes on Nov.18. That trade-off is fueling some of the game’s biggest advocates to take the face-to-face component into their own hands by organizing a series of regional community events that Jones said have “gained [the company’s] official stamp of approval to throw authentic in-person Minecraft experiences.”
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It remains to be seen if the community-based approach will satisfy the appetite for an in-person experience. Last year’s MINECON sold 12,000 tickets at $160 per person. On the surface, that level of demand seems to support the need for preserving the big face-to-face gathering. The digital engagement efforts of the new MINECON Earth will help maintain the connection among fans around the world, but abandoning the flagship event may prove to be a decision that causes some loyal attendees to question how much they truly love their consoles.
Interested in learning how face-to-face and digital can do more together? Check out “Multi-Hub Meetings” in Convene.