This was my first year attending TigerDirect’s Tech Bash which itself isn’t exactly an old established event itself but apparently buddies and staff there last year noticed two major changes from its last run.
- An increase in attendance.
- An increase in observers.
What do I mean by observers? Well mostly people who don’t use technology so much, besides your run of the mill smart phone and computer for social networking and whatnot, and only attended to get a show and maybe some free stuff. There were many attendees and yet a lot of the large extravagant gaming setups seemed to go largely ignored by them.
Funny enough there was a huge line for a demo of the Oculus Rift which as you know Zuckerberg picked for its potential outside of gaming despite the project initially getting funded by a largely gamer demographic.
Now you can’t talk about the event without talking about how all the different exhibitors were laid out. The event was hosted at Marlins Park, the baseball stadium for Miami’s team. In the homefield where the actual games are played they set up a temporary show floor to not ruin the grass where the main sponsors were gathered. The areas outside the ring of stadium seat had rows of exhibitors with smaller booths from NVidia to Microsoft. I wish I could show the wide range of booths and setups but unfortunately my PC is not working normally and can’t detect my SD card. I believe I could benefit from buying either from Asus or iBUYPOWER whom had gaming setups in the main exhibit area. In terms of gaming a lot was going on, there were promotions for giveaways, gaming lounges, and Alienware even had a preview of Dying Light.
I have a few suggestions for both the actual event and its exhibitors to make next year even better.
- Get a convention center. Marlins Stadium is large, but results in a lot of wasted space and more crowding.
- Make the event slightly longer than 7 PM to 11 PM. It’s a short span of time to network, look around, have fun, find your buddies, etc. Especially when everything moves so slowly. Also observers can take up less of the event’s time.
- If you’re having giveaways every half hour or so, PLEASE don’t make it a be there or lose deal. Seriously. Ask for a phone number and text the winner to collect their prize at the booth. A raffle of that sort should only be conducted once and have a prize worth the attendance. I’m looking at you Sandisk.
- I can see Tech Bash is also an opportunity for people in the industry to connect. So please, make the networking event more accessible instead of a secluded area for the employees of event sponsors.
TigerDirect Tech Bash is a promising event with room to grow, but the event will have to grow along with its number of attendees lest they suffer in quality and lose the interest of sponsors and attendees. Miami does have a small but growing technology sector, and we need events like the Tech Bash to present it in a positive light and help foster it.
Only a week or two after the big CES debut of the Steam Machines we get another nice surprise from our good friends at Alienware. Earlier this week it was announced that Alienware’s version of the Steam Machine will not allow customization and will be updated every year. A few days after that it was said that Alienware will allow customers to upgrade their machines.
Frank Azor, Alienware general manager, apparently misspoke. In an interview with Eurogamer Azor says, “The Alienware Steam Machine, announced at CES, is designed to deliver a great gaming experience in the living room and we will enable customers to upgrade components.”
Azor says the he made the previous comment because their Machine’s size doesn’t allow for easy upgrades. Coming in around the size of a Nintendo Wii you can see how that would make removing parts difficult. Instead Azor recommended their X51 desktop model for those feeling the need to do some DIY upgrades.
Not allowing the users of a Steam Machine the ability to upgrade would successfully defeat the purpose of a Steam Machine. The whole point of the Steam Machines was a sort of console “openness.” All the big screen gaming of a console coupled with the technical superiority of a computer and the great steam collection you’ve built sale after sale.
Alienware’s Steam Machine doesn’t have a set list of specs or price point yet so it’ll be interesting to see what type of build(s) they’re going for and what they plan for their yearly release.