The further we move into the Internet age, the more it seems like our lives are broadcast online for everyone to consume. People are posting pictures of every meal they’ve eaten on Instagram, recording videos of every game they’ve ever played to upload onto YouTube, and updating their friends on every single thing they do throughout the day on their Twitter accounts.
At the forefront of all of this information overload are the relatively new live streaming services that have become mainstream over the last few years. From a guy in his basement to a multibillion-dollar company, anyone can broadcast live video to anywhere in the world with the press of a button. As you’re about to find out, when you’re broadcasting live, anything can go wrong in the blink of an eye.
#10 Setting The Bar Low For The New Year
While the end-of-the-year ball drop in New York City has been taking place for over a century, it wasn’t actually broadcast by any television stations until the 1940s. Since then, it has become a yearly spectacle for companies with seemingly endless budgets to broadcast the event live as it happens, down to the very second that the new year rings in. As more years have passed, the ability to broadcast live has become cheaper and cheaper, allowing people who usually couldn’t host a New Year’s special the ability to do so if they wish. This is where Jamie Kennedy’s “Carl’s Jr. End of the Year Bash” comes in. Unrehearsed and seemingly unscripted, things fell apart from pretty much the beginning of the festivities.
The moment the broadcast went live, all walkie-talkie communications were lost. What followed was pure awkward hilarity as cameras broadcast the wrong feeds for painfully long spans of time. Interviews with random people from the crowd turned into drunken and confused rants as they tried to read from teleprompters not meant for them. People’s microphones would randomly come on when they weren’t supposed to, allowing viewers to listen in on private conversations during the broadcast, which led to quite a few profanities slipping through uncensored. To put the icing on the cake, they didn’t even have a clock to count down the final few seconds of the year and ended up doing their countdown after the year had already ended.
In interviews, Jamie Kennedy has claimed that the unscripted and difficult feel of the show was on purpose, as he wished to be a part of something that could be considered the antithesis of every other end-of-the-year broadcast. If that was truly his goal, then he certainly succeeded.
#9 Konami’s Conference Goes So Badly That They Just Give Up
In the last few years, it has become the cool new thing for big companies to Livestream their various conferences online to people across the world, with each year’s conference getting bigger and more extravagant than the last. What used to be something that companies did for their stockholders and a few members of the press has become a huge spectacle where companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes even millions, to entertain. They’ve gotten so big, in fact, that some conferences are actually broadcast on television stations with celebrity interviews and live performances which have absolutely nothing to do with the companies themselves.
In 2010, during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Japanese game development group Konami was about take center stage with their attempt to impress and excite the masses. For a conference as big as E3, you have to come out swinging with your biggest and best-kept secrets if you hope to get any traction online and in the news. While Konami certainly attracted a lot of press for their press conference, it wasn’t the good kind. What followed after their show began is still hard to put into words.
A group of actual lucha libre wrestlers came onstage at one point and began to slap each other for what can best be described as an eternity. Why did they do this? Because Konami had booked their very own wrestling event, scheduled to take place later in the week. After that strange display, another man came onstage and pulled his own head off. Still not strange enough? How about adding in an Asian man who told the crowd of onlookers that they were going to be sucked? These are only a few of the events that took place during the conference. Many more could be discussed, but this is a list, not a novel about the conference that killed a company.
Speaking of killing a company, after the event ended, and Konami became the laughingstock of the Internet, the company completely pulled out of ever holding any sort of live conferences ever again. As of the writing of this article, corporate warfare within Konami has been so bad that a majority of news websites are actually predicting the demise of the company within the next few years.
#8 Are You Born Mobile?
The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is a yearly event where the biggest tech companies come together to show off their new technological breakthroughs. Ultra HDTVs that put your 1080p television to shame, eating utensils that measure how much and how fast you eat in real time, and touchscreen tablets that actually change shape and morph to better suit your needs are just some of the amazing and strange bits of future tech that you can find each year at the show. What you wouldn’t expect to see are giant talking birds or the comedy stylings of Maroon 5, but that’s exactly what the public got during Qualcomm’s CES conference in 2013. When the highlight of your technology conference is a surprise appearance by Steve Ballmer, you know you’ve got some serious issues.
Steve Ballmer was somehow the least of their problems. It was a disaster right from the start. Actors who were pulled directly from old commercials that aired in the 1990s flooded the stage. We’ll call them “Tornado,” “Can You Dig It,” and “Stereotype Girl.” Tornado, an extremely exaggerated Carrot Top caricature, would aggressively dance around the stage while screaming about women and how he killed the entire world. Stereotype Girl would just walk around, repeatedly assuring everyone about how popular she was and how important it was to be a girl. Can You Dig It could only yell movie catchphrases. As this flood of sense-killing visuals paraded around the stage, they would intermittently yell out “born mobile” as shrill as possible. This all came to a close when the CEO of the company magically appeared on stage and revealed that, yes, he was born mobile, too. This was only the beginning of the show. There was still an hour left for random actors, musicians, and even Big Bird to appear, as Qualcomm effectively announced nothing.
#7 WCW Learns Why Live Broadcasts Are Risky
During the 1990s, there was a period known as the Monday Night Wars, where the WWE went head-to-head against the WCW, airing their respective wrestling shows on the same night at the exact same time. The edge that the WCW had over the WWE was the fact that their shows were broadcast live, while the WWE prerecorded their shows. This allowed the WCW to begin their shows by revealing everything that happened on the WWE’s show before it even aired. This gave them a huge advantage over the struggling WWE, but the dangers of doing a live broadcast were always lurking behind the scenes, waiting to strike. When fate finally stepped in, it couldn’t have happened in a worse way.
In the lead-up to a Pay Per View special, some of the WCW’s biggest wrestlers were in the middle of a heated feud, with the fan-favorite team of Sting, Davey Boy Smith, and Dustin Rhodes revealing that they had a mystery partner who would “shock” the world when they faced Sid Vicious and his gang. That was when The Shockmaster entered the scene, or at least fell into it. Wearing a stormtrooper helmet that had been painted with glitter and a black vest, The Shockmaster burst through a wall to make his entrance, only his legs didn’t make it through. He fell flat on his face immediately, and his helmet came flying off, revealing his identity to be none other than Fred Ottman, a wrestler who had recently left the WWE. Ric Flair and Booker T could be heard over the microphones laughing and using language that was certainly not suited for live television after The Shockmaster’s fall, with Ric Flair exclaiming “See, I told you, oh god!” The Shockmaster was quickly removed from the roster.
#6 You Can’t Speed Run Away From Awkwardness
Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) is a gaming charity where people from all over get together to complete video games as quickly as they can while collecting donations for charity. While that might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, it can be fun to watch people completely destroy video games, to the point where something that would take a normal person weeks to finish can be done in roughly 30 minutes . . . blindfolded. They also raised over $1 million for charity during 2015’s SGDQ. As you can probably guess, though, some of the people who dedicate their time to speed running games can come off as a bit awkward. There’s nothing wrong with being a socially awkward person, but when there are tens of thousands of people with their eyes on you, there can be a lot of pressure to not do something embarrassing.
That worst-case scenario played out during SGDQ in 2014, when the person presenting during a speed run of Tomba 2 completely spilled their spaghetti, so to speak. From the very beginning, his jokes and anecdotes fell flat while the speed runner tried to make polite conversation, though he could be seen actively looking into the cameras as if he was pleading for someone to make it stop. After a short time, he stopped responding to the presenter all together, as he was trying to concentrate on the game. The jokes kept coming with no reprieve in sight until he finally leaned over and said, “I would really prefer if you’d be quiet.” (This is just after the 5:15 mark in the video above.) The rest of the game was played in deafening silence, with the only talking coming from a person offscreen reading the comments that people were sending in with donations. Seen by just under one million people on YouTube, it is one moment from the charity that people won’t soon forget.
#5 Press Asked To Stop Recording At Press Event
In 2005, Nintendo changed the gaming world by introducing one of the first game consoles based entirely around motion controls, known as the Nintendo Wii. The console sold like hotcakes to the casual crowd, and the rest is history. When the Nintendo first revealed the Wii, however, quite a few games advertised the motion controls as being an exact one-to-one representation of your actual movements. While this might have been intended at one point, it wasn’t actually possible until five years later in 2010, when Nintendo revealed the Wii Motion Plus.
One of the first games to use this Wii Motion Plus was The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. With Zelda being one of Nintendo’s biggest and oldest franchises, people were expecting a lot from Nintendo’s first live game play reveal at E3. What they got instead was a buggy mess, as everyone onstage failed to control the character onscreen, including Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Zelda series. Stressing that the game worked fine behind closed doors, the onstage presenters insisted that the game must have been failing because of all of the wireless interference in the crowd, asking the press multiple times to turn off their wireless devices. As you might have guessed, the press in the crowd didn’t turn off their phones or computers, and the game continued to break until they just gave up and moved on.
#4 Laser Tag Free Runners
When you hear “high-end electronics,” what is the first thing that pops into your head? You probably weren’t thinking of parkour, but that’s actually the right answer for this specific instance. In 2010, Ubisoft held its own conference at E3 to announce its new hardware and software releases coming in the next year. For reasons that are still unknown, they decided that the best person for the job of announcing their multimillion-dollar projects to the world was none other than comedian and actor Joel McHale.
While Joel tried to do his best in what was already a very strange situation, he was suddenly assailed by a group of street ninjas who did random flips around the crowd, jumping off the stage and posing over and over again for a group of phantom paparazzi. Judging by Joel’s reaction, it seems that nobody told him that this was going to happen, and it came as just as much of a shock to the press reporting on the event.
What could these free runners have possibly wanted? Was a cheesy villain from a 1980s movie about to burst in and ransom the world? No, it was all to announce a new laser tag game, something you would see being sold in a gas station. This laser tag game quickly went the way of real laser tag, having only ever been sold in 15 stores across the US.
#3 Microsoft’s Multimillion-Dollar Ace In The Hole Embarrasses
After Nintendo’s motion control gaming console surprised everyone and became a smash hit for the Japanese company, everyone else in the tech industry was seemingly left in the dust with their more traditional game consoles. Not ones to miss out, Microsoft began working on its own motion control system, known as the Kinect. The electronics giant went all-out, rebranding their flagship console with a new look and attaching the expensive controller as a boxed-in feature. Spending $500 million on advertising, Microsoft clearly wanted their motion controller to catch on. Unfortunately, during the Kinect’s first live reveal, something went hilariously wrong at just the right time.
The man revealing the Kinect to the world was Kudo Tsunoda, and he asked a simple question: Have you ever wondered what the bottom of an Xbox avatar looked like? For the one person who did wonder that, their question was finally about to be answered. Kudo lifted his foot. Instead of Kudo’s avatar raising its foot like it was supposed to, it began wildly spinning as its arms and legs snapped through its body and flew into the air. While this happened, Koda enthusiastically yelled out, “Well, BAM! There it is!” While the Kinect still exists, it has been almost completely removed from any important position on any Microsoft console.
#2 Ouya Can’t Afford Conference, Tries To Host Its Own
During big electronics and technology shows, a lot of large companies fight for the best time slots and venues for their conferences. Too early or too late, and you can end up ruining all of your work, because no one will be around to see what you’ve done. If you can’t pony up the $1 million or so needed to host a big show, then you aren’t getting a spot. When the crowdfunded company Ouya strolled into town in 2013, there was never a chance of them ever getting their own show. Instead of just accepting that they wouldn’t get their own slot, they decided to host their own conference out in the parking lot of E3’s venue.
While you could say it was a commendable effort on Ouya’s part as the little guy in a league that they couldn’t hope to compete with, it doesn’t change the fact that what happened was awkward and hilarious. Their setup could be picked up by cameras outside of the venue, technically making it a live broadcast just like they wanted, but their big show was cut short when the company hosting E3 paid a semitruck to park in front of them, blocking the cameras from seeing anything. That’s what happens when you have your conference in a parking lot.
#1 Product Fails During Its Own Advertisement
EVO is a yearly tournament that pits some of the world’s best fighting game players against each other in a variety of different titles. In 2015, one of the advertisers for the event was Razer, with their specially made fight stick. A fight stick is a game controller designed like the controls you would find in an arcade game. They cost more than regular game controllers, but a majority of competitive fighting game players swear by them. Just as Razer sent out an announcement urging people to watch the final fight live, with their fighting stick being used by one of the two top players in the world, something unthinkable occurred.
The stick broke. The biggest moment of the tournament was ground to a halt as people scrambled to figure out what was supposed to happen next. An important thing in fighting tournaments is the flow of the fights. When someone starts to get into a rhythm, breaking their concentration can completely change the course of the fight, and Razer’s stick, which they had literally just advertised, completely ruined the flow of an entire tournament. This might not sound like a big deal, but consider this: The winner of that fight took home $33,000. While the person whose stick broke did end up winning the final fight, there’s no way to tell what would have happened if the stick didn’t ruin the match’s flow, and the two competitors had a chance to go all-out.
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