In summer 2011, Gustavo Sorola, one of the co-founders of Austin’s Rooster Teeth Productions, approached the Austin Convention Center about hosting the video collective’s 2012 RTX event, a big video game and internet culture conference. 

It was to be a sizable upgrade. 

“Our first RTX (in 2011) was in a field,” Sorola says now. “They were super skeptical. They didn’t think we could fill it. I told them that within five years, I was going to have the entire convention center rented. Sure enough, last year was the fifth year at the convention center and we had the whole thing.” 

And then some. RTX 2017, which takes place July 7-9 after the Thursday evening season premiere of the company’s series “Day 5,” is this year’s edition of an event that has grown and grown and grown. For 2017, the event will spill over as it expands further with additional venues including the JW Marriott Austin and the Hilton Austin, plus four nights of live-action and animation screenings at the Paramount Theatre. That’s what has to happen when you expect to attract about 65,000 attendees to downtown Austin. 

It’s not just that the scale of what Rooster Teeth — a company known for its large stable of original web video shows and its incredibly loyal fan base — is doing has grown. Anyone who has walked the show floor or attended panels at RTX and has even the faintest interest in video games or the web can easily see its appeal. It’s a safe haven and fun opportunity for those who often interact with their favorite web personalities, and even many good friends, only online. In person, cosplayers, competitive gamers, aspiring animators and anyone with a “Let’s Play” YouTube channel can learn something, have some face time with kindred spirits and get inspired.

?Read more about the broad array of programming, including two concerts, coming up at RTX 2017 this weekend.