Gen Con 2020 Cancelled

I will miss it. My wife and I have been attending since 1987. I will be happy to see the hind end of this misbegotten year.

I was thinking about this the other day, wondering when they would cancel. Man, that’s a hit to Indianapolis. That must pull tens of millions into the area.

There’s a Steampunk weekend in Hannibal, MO I went to a couple of years ago. It’s scheduled for August. They get about 15.000 people in for it. I go to people watch and ogle the cool stuff for sale in the booths. I’m expecting it to cancel as well.

I’m bummed. This would be my first GenCon and we had the best hotel booked. Badge bumped to 2021, no luck doing that with hotel. So we’ll probably get screwed on that…

Pretty sure it will be. Even Essen Spiel, the biggest boardgame convention in Europe, which takes place in October, has been cancelled (they call it postponed until next year). UK Games Expo (which, I believe, was postponed until August) has now officially moved to a virtual con this year too.

The roleplaying world has also pretty much completely shifted to online conventions this year. all the panels are online, games are run online and virtual booths display vendor wares you can order.

The email we got from Gen Con said that, if you had booked a hotel via the housing portal, your reservation would be cancelled automatically. We had booked a room at a Wingate we had stayed at last year, directly through the Wyndham Rewards website. So we just found the email confirming our reservation, clicked through to a page where you could change or cancel your reservation, and cancelled that way.
Those who booked flights to Indy for Gen Con will need to cancel those reservations, too, presumably through wherever they made the original reservation.

Man, what a bummer. It is going to be a huge blow for Indy, as GenCon brought in $75 million in economic impact last year and seems to grow larger each year. I am also worried about GenCon LLC, the small company that produces the show every year (they have only 14 full-time employees) and derives pretty much its entire income from the convention. Hopefully enough people take them up on the offer to “push” their badge purchase to a 2021 badge and they can use the money to stay afloat until then. Hopefully people purchase merch and participate in the online convention they are planning for the same dates in August, and they can raise some funds that way as well.

It looks like Origins Game Fair, another large midwest gaming comvention in Columbus, Ohio, is going online-only in June (it’s normal date) and pushing the actual convention to October. Origins and GenCon used to be fairly similar in size years ago when I would attend both, but GenCon has grown exponentially over the years while Origins has sort of shrunk over that time compared to it’s heyday.

My condolences to everyone who was looking forward to GenCon 2020. I wasn’t going to be able to make it this year even before COVID-19 shut everything down, but if the online convention is free or cheap to participate in, I will definitely check it out and try to drop some money on something to help out GenCon LLC.

This sucks, just because all things related to this suck, and drives home it is going to be a very long time before things happen.

My local convention, TotalCon, announced their 2021 dates for February. But, the organizer said on her private Facebook, that basically, “who the hell knows what is going to happen.” I almost backed out of going this year at the last minute. We just missed the pandemic by a week. If conventions in general are a long time coming back, I am going to be very happy I went this year.

I think it’s going to take a vaccine to restore confidence in people. My guess is numbers will either stay flat or rise as things reopen. I doubt the numbers continue to go down.

The convention is too popular for numbers to go down much, IMO, assuming it does not continue to get canceled in subsequent years too.

When people feel safe they will be happy to return.