What’s in a name? Absolutely everything if you own a trademark. And it seems that the group who plans to run a new LBGTQ gaming convention did not own the trademark to the name GaymerCon. That would belong to Gam3rcon (who also owns all phonetic variants). The organization that is currently working to organize the upcoming LBGTQ-friendly convention, not wishing to run afoul of the law, has changed its name to Gaymer X. But that’s not all.
The group, which is going by the name GaymerConnect have also announced “GaymerConnect,” an online community of the same name. In anticipation of Gaymer X, GaymerConnect.com will be helping gay gamers and their open-minded pals meet in advance of the San Francisco-based convention
It’ll also be opening up some interesting options for attendees of the convention. More on that in a moment.
According to Matt Conn, creative director of GaymerConnect, “The point of the site is to allow gaymers to easily find other gaymers based on location or common interest, and then contact them on Xbox live, PSN, whatever their preferred system is.”
This means if you’re gay and a gamer, GaymerConnect will help you avoid those awkward encounters that take place when you prefer to match-make Male Shepard with Kaidan Alenko in Mass Effect while your potential friend-with-benefits (where the benefit is a great gaming rig) wants to take down narco-terrorists in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Also, by putting this information in one place, Conn said it will be easier “for a player to find LGBT or minority guilds in their specific game.”
Log in to GaymerConnect.com via Facebook or Twitter (Conn suggests you log on via Facebook, because the site will pull in the games you’ve “liked.”), and browse the forums based on location or your favorite games. You can add your own location, the games you play (after you select the game of your choice, click the “add game” button on the page), and your gamer tags from Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, and others.
There’s also a simple, passive news feed, where you have to click through to get news, but GaymerConnect plans on a more active news feed, like Facebook, where you get news based on who and what you’ve subscribed to. And if your favorite indie game or small town doesn’t have a group, you can start one of your own.
So far, so social. But what happens when a social networking tool and a gaming convention get together? Gamification, that’s what.
In a “Why didn’t we think of that?” move, GaymerConnect lets you create an avatar, with stats, which you can level up by participating in the community (say, responding to posts online), with nifty new avatars for high-level gaymers.
Best of all, if you get to a high enough level, special convention bonuses are unlocked. (You can level up by participating in real-world activities at Gaymer X, too.)
You don’t have to participate or join GaymerConnect to go to Gaymer X, of course, but gamifying a gaming convention is an awesome idea. A substantial number of attendees–as well as other gaming conventions–are guaranteed to jump right into this idea.
The details aren’t set in digital stone, but according to Conn, “If people are using the website and inviting their friends, we want to reward them. Everyone over, say, level twenty may get special access to an event at the convention” Conn is still working on details at the moment, but it may include “an extra set from a musical performer or even a break room with free coffee and snacks for high-level gaymers.”
Are you thinking of attending but afraid you’ll be outed as a heterosexual? You’re more than welcome to attend. According to Conn, “I would liken the convention to a gay and lesbian film festival. Maybe you just want to learn about this culture or you just want to see a good movie. A lot of the [LGBT] community will be here, but it is a gaming convention first and foremost. The biggest difference is that we’ll be discussing issues and ideas that are commonly not discussed in the general gaming public.”
Some of these issues will be discussed on panels, which you can suggest to Gaymer X. “We’re allowing people not only to submit panels but also users can upvote them as well,” said Conn. You can find the current list here. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to upvote or to make suggestions.)
Eventually GaymerConnect will be producing a related app, which Kayce Brown director of business development of GaymerConnect, said will be similar to Grindr. However, this app will be built with the intent to play games, rather than just “play.”
I’ve thoroughly gone through GaymerConnect.com, and it’s rather “spartan” at the moment and does have a few bugs. But there’s serious potential for it to become the go-to site for gamers who happen to be non-heteronormative or members of the LGBTQ community who happen to like unlocking the headshot achievement.
Gaymer X will be held on August 3-4, 2013, and is for gamers 18 and older, although Conn hopes to open it to younger gamers in the future. You can log into GaymerConnect right now, here.
You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and here at Forbes.