New Survey
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Posted by brotherbock dradama

dradama wrote:
To me it seems likea veiled attempt to figure out where they could move Gen-Con to not to add a new one. 
These types of surveys came out a few years before they moved from Milwaukee. 
This survey really worries me.  I know that people will say that is not the intention of the survey... well they said the same thing 15 years ago. 

You mean right around the time Gen Con SoCal was created? :)

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Posted by brotherbock tdb

tdb wrote:
So how would these other cons be billed?  The Second-Best Four Days of Gaming?
In all seriousness, I can't see how having multiple cons could fail to diminish the "main" Gencon.  A lot of folks would only be able to afford one Gencon, either in terms of money or in terms of vacation time.  I suspect that would include a disproportionate number of folks that only manage to attend by volunteering, GM'ing, or assisting a vendor in order to get help with the badge and/or housing.  A con that's closer to home and perhaps cheaper to attend might draw a fair number of those folks, and they're really the backbone of the con.
 

I'll say it: I want a smaller Gen Con. 

I'm not going to do anything to achieve that in terms of driving people away, or encentivising people not to come. But I honestly used to have more fun at the 25k attendance levels and before. 60k people has not made the con more enjoyable for me.

This should not be seen as a negative statement about Gen Con LLC or people who enjoy it more the bigger it gets, etc. I'm not blasting anyone for having whatever opinion they have. If you are enjoying it more and more every year, that's fine. And Gen Con LLC doing everything they can to grow their business is fine, it's their job. I'd probably do the same in their position.

But I've been to 32 Gen Cons, and the days when the hallways were busy but not jam packed, and when events sold but didn't sell out in 30 seconds, when the exhibit hall wasn't a whole day affair just to even literally lay eyes on all the booths...that was more enjoyable to me. It's still enjoyable now, I still come, every year, and make it a priority.

But lots of what's been added hasn't impacted me positively in any way. The dance, movie screenings, celebrities. And just the sheer number of people. Not a positive for my experience, and in fact often a negative (getting a hotel room, finding a place for dinner, or just walking down the hallway). I still love the Con, but I would be happier with a lot fewer people.

Just talking preferences here, hope no one takes this personally. But if a second Gen Con (more successful than SoCal) drew some pressure off of Gen Con Indy...let's do it.

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Posted by brotherbock

My highest vote was NOLA, btw. Mostly because I love that city. Hotel space, but it would be a pretty spread out Con if it reached 60K people.

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Posted by del_grande

What is it about the "GenCon" name that makes people go to it in such overwhelming numbers as opposed to Origins or any of the smaller "regional" cons (e.g. San Francisco's KublaCon)?

What I am saying is, why bother with another GenCon?  What would make people go to it instead of another con?  If people go to GenCon because of particualr events, then what guarantee is there that the other GenCons would have the same events, or that they can't have the events at existing cons?  It just seems to be that it would be "GenCon in name only," in which case, why bother?

I think the questions that need to be asked are, (a) "Why do you go to GenCon?", and (b) "Does it matter where it is held?" (or, "Would you attend if it was in a different eastern city?").  If people go to GenCon because of something that is specific to the con, then having "other" GenCons won't ease the stress...and note that the survey does not give "summer" as an option for when the "other" GenCon.
 

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Posted by brotherbock

One main reason for many is the size. And that was a reason when it was down at 30k,still huge. That was huge for a *gaming* Con, of course. Dragon/Comic are not gaming cons. If you go to play games, nothing else like it. 

If you go for celebrities or Anime and such, there are other big options. But not gaming (in the US). 

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Posted by brotherbock

BTW, let me point out my opinion that while Chicago is central to many and I said there's a decent chance I'd go because of that, Chicago is actually a horrible, horrible convention city. Hotels are a long (unwalkable) bus ride away. By unwalkable, I mean that I think you'd have to cross freeways IIRC. So no popping away from the con for a quick bite. It's $10 Con center hotdogs or a two hour break from the con. 

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Posted by jobeth66

See, and I think Baltimore is a perfect choice.  Close for anyone already east-coast, perfect for travel because of the # of airport options.  We'd go to a Baltimore GenCon no questions asked.

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Posted by kiyote marimaccadmin

marimaccadmin wrote:
New survey, it's only going to take a minute or two of your time, if you could:
Given significant attendance growth, the Gen Con team is investigating the idea of offering additional conventions in future years. Want to share your feedback on possible expansion? Please take this short survey. Thanks for your help!
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZNT8PCH
 

I'd fill it out, but there's no love for those of us not in the US in those dropdowns.  :)

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Posted by tdb brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
tdb wrote:
So how would these other cons be billed?  The Second-Best Four Days of Gaming?
In all seriousness, I can't see how having multiple cons could fail to diminish the "main" Gencon.  A lot of folks would only be able to afford one Gencon, either in terms of money or in terms of vacation time.  I suspect that would include a disproportionate number of folks that only manage to attend by volunteering, GM'ing, or assisting a vendor in order to get help with the badge and/or housing.  A con that's closer to home and perhaps cheaper to attend might draw a fair number of those folks, and they're really the backbone of the con.

I'll say it: I want a smaller Gen Con. I'm not going to do anything to achieve that in terms of driving people away, or encentivising people not to come. But I honestly used to have more fun at the 25k attendance levels and before. 60k people has not made the con more enjoyable for me.
This should not be seen as a negative statement about Gen Con LLC or people who enjoy it more the bigger it gets, etc. I'm not blasting anyone for having whatever opinion they have. If you are enjoying it more and more every year, that's fine. And Gen Con LLC doing everything they can to grow their business is fine, it's their job. I'd probably do the same in their position.
But I've been to 32 Gen Cons, and the days when the hallways were busy but not jam packed, and when events sold but didn't sell out in 30 seconds, when the exhibit hall wasn't a whole day affair just to even literally lay eyes on all the booths...that was more enjoyable to me. It's still enjoyable now, I still come, every year, and make it a priority.
But lots of what's been added hasn't impacted me positively in any way. The dance, movie screenings, celebrities. And just the sheer number of people. Not a positive for my experience, and in fact often a negative (getting a hotel room, finding a place for dinner, or just walking down the hallway). I still love the Con, but I would be happier with a lot fewer people.
Just talking preferences here, hope no one takes this personally. But if a second Gen Con (more successful than SoCal) drew some pressure off of Gen Con Indy...let's do it.

I would prefer a smaller con too, in some ways.  But I wouldn't want to drive away gamers.  The thing is, in the last couple years I have talked with several groups of new attendees that said something along the lines of "we couldn't get tickets for Comic Con so we came here instead" and "we're not here to game, we're here to costume".   

So I think it's appropriate to ask: Is an overflow option for Comic Con what Gencon really should be?  To me they are completely different animals, and even though there are lot of gamers who like what's on offer at Comic Con too, Gencon shouldn't cater to that side of it.  Being all things to all people sort of made sense when there was a lot of capacity for growth, but at this point that capacity is mostly gone, so maybe that strategy needs to change.

If Gencon were to do a second convention, I think it might make sense to let Gencon Indy focus on being a gaming con, and move some of the anime, film, and celebrity programming to the new convention, where it can serve that side of the market.  Sure, there would be some games at the new con too, and there could still be some "non-game" programming at Indy, but I think the two conventions need to be fundamentally different in order for both to be viable.
 

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Posted by braewe tdb

Just my two cents but I love gen con BECAUSE it isn't 'just' a gaming con. I can take my whole family and everyone can enjoy themselves:
I game, paint miniatures, watch the costumes.
Daughter 1 also games, and cosplays.
Daughter 2 games, cosplays and crafts. Oy vey does she craft.
My brother, when he went, partook only of boardgames. His wife prefers MtG. They both really like snagging autographs.

If I wanted a 'smaller more intimate experience, I'd go to a con that offered that. And hey, in February, I do just that. Winter Fantasy was great this year. Didn't bring the family though. I LOVELOVELOVE that gen con takes over blocks upon blocks. I love walking down the street and into restaurants and seeing badges everywhere and hearing those gamer conversations everywhere. 

So here is a dissenting opinion on splitting it into sections. Boo to that idea.

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Posted by brotherbock

I'm not saying it should be split that way either. All the categories of things that are present now were present at the 30k level.

I do think that SoCal showed that you have to be very careful starting a second one. I think people expected a gigantic Indy experience right off the bat and didn't get it. Might also be atmosphere. SoCal is also not nice and contained in one place like Indy or Milwaukee.  

In fact...not sure why Milwaukee wasn't on that list. It's better than Chicago for the sort of convention GenCon is, and could certainly hold up to 20k easily. 

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Posted by tdb braewe

If the motive behind the survey isn't to move the convention, then what is it?  It seems clear to me that the only possible point would be to find a way to shunt some of the growth in attendees to some other locale or some other date so that the August convention in Indy doesn't grow beyond the city's and the organizer's capacity to serve the attendees.

And that's probably going to mean that some events are only going to be held at one of the conventions but not the other, simply because the people who run them won't attend both cons.  That's going to be just as true of crafting, mini, film and cosplay events as it is of games.  You can definitely bet that the same celebrities will rarely be available for both cons.  So the bottom line is that somebody is going to be disappointed by what's on offer at whichever convention they attend. 

Given that this is the case, should Gencon try to guide events to one convention or the other based on the subject matter?  I see a case for yes, and I see a case for no.  I have also attended (and enjoyed) crafting and mini events as well as games and seminars.  And I definitely enjoy seeing the costumes.  So I don't want those to go away either.  But when people tell me they're only at Gencon because they couldn't get tickets to Comic Con (and I have heard that from at least half a dozen people around shared lunch tables in the last couple years) it strikes me that they would be better served by a con that's not exactly like Gencon.  And the folks who attend Gencon because it is what they really want would be better served if those folks had somewhere else to go.  So another convention would be the perfect opportunity to serve that market and take some of the pressure off of Gencon Indy, without seriously compromising what Gencon Indy is all about.

 

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Posted by derekguder

Gen Con & Comic Con are such wildly different conventions that it is very unlikely that a large number of people are attending the former as a consolation prize for not getting a badge for the latter, even if that is particularly prominent among your own social circle.

I don't really see that being a huge factor, honestly.

-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by brotherbock tdb

tdb wrote:
If the motive behind the survey isn't to move the convention, then what is it?   

Why not take it at face value, as a query into the possibility of a second Con? 

If you'd been around for the SoCal years, you'd have seen the same thing then. In part, it was to have Gencon at a different time of year. In part, to serve people for whom Indy was a long trip. 

I know people who attended SoCal because august was a bad time, or Indy was too far. I know people who attended both. And the people I know who attended SoCal loved it. 

Why would they have to make hard and fast rules about splitting it up? Why not just let companies and GMs decide for themselves which, or both, to attend, and let it develop organically? When SoCal was running, the idea wasn't to offer identical experiences. It was for one company to offer two similar yet stand alone cons. 

Why can't that be the idea this time? And yeah, some people won't find the games they like at one Con. Okay. Go to the other. Or if you can't, just accept that you'll have to find something else to do. True Dungeon was at both, IIRC, but not everything was. But even now, there are people who are upset because their favorite game system or company isn't at GenCon. That's life. 

I've also never hear anyone say they came to GC as an alternative to comic Con. Not doubting you, that's just very odd to me. I've heard people going to Dragon Con when they couldn't get downtown at GenCon, but not what you've heard about comic Con. I suspect that's not enough of an issue to worry about. 

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Posted by dreamitdoit

I thought it was really odd that Indy was on the survey. Would they really have TWO Gen Cons in indy per year? That seems crazy pants. And who's going to attend two Gen Cons in the same year unless the two were significantly different in content/form?

My top pick for Gen Con is Indy, but that doesn't mean my top pick for Gen Con #2 would be Indy. I'm either voting for something else close to me, or something far away that I'll never go to, but has a higher probability of success because of less of an overlap of attendee base.

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Posted by trace_sl dreamitdoit

dreamitdoit wrote:
I thought it was really odd that Indy was on the survey. Would they really have TWO Gen Cons in indy per year? That seems crazy pants. And who's going to attend two Gen Cons in the same year unless the two were significantly different in content/form?
My top pick for Gen Con is Indy, but that doesn't mean my top pick for Gen Con #2 would be Indy. I'm either voting for something else close to me, or something far away that I'll never go to, but has a higher probability of success because of less of an overlap of attendee base.
 
I can see this, back to back Gen Cons in Indy with limits on badges sold.  You would have Gen Con A one week followed by Gen Con B the next week, staff and vendors stay on and only the gamers change, sure some gamers will attend both weeks but that would be a small number. 

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Posted by tdb derekguder

derekguder wrote:
Gen Con & Comic Con are such wildly different conventions that it is very unlikely that a large number of people are attending the former as a consolation prize for not getting a badge for the latter, even if that is particularly prominent among your own social circle.
I don't really see that being a huge factor, honestly.
-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

I thought it was strange too.  And just to be clear, this wasn't anyone in my "social circle", these were people I shared a table with at the food court (one time in each instance).

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Posted by dballing trace_sl

trace_sl wrote:
dreamitdoit wrote:
I thought it was really odd that Indy was on the survey. Would they really have TWO Gen Cons in indy per year? That seems crazy pants. And who's going to attend two Gen Cons in the same year unless the two were significantly different in content/form?
My top pick for Gen Con is Indy, but that doesn't mean my top pick for Gen Con #2 would be Indy. I'm either voting for something else close to me, or something far away that I'll never go to, but has a higher probability of success because of less of an overlap of attendee base.
 
I can see this, back to back Gen Cons in Indy with limits on badges sold.  You would have Gen Con A one week followed by Gen Con B the next week, staff and vendors stay on and only the gamers change, sure some gamers will attend both weeks but that would be a small number. 

I don't think it'd be nearly as small a number as you would need it to be for that plan to work.

 

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Posted by monkeyknifefight brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
One main reason for many is the size. And that was a reason when it was down at 30k,still huge. That was huge for a *gaming* Con, of course. Dragon/Comic are not gaming cons. If you go to play games, nothing else like it. 
If you go for celebrities or Anime and such, there are other big options. But not gaming (in the US). 
Size is the reason I attend indirectly. I really go for playing and demoing the the hot new releases. Those happen at GenCon because of the size.

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Posted by brotherbock trace_sl

trace_sl wrote:
dreamitdoit wrote:
I thought it was really odd that Indy was on the survey. Would they really have TWO Gen Cons in indy per year? That seems crazy pants. And who's going to attend two Gen Cons in the same year unless the two were significantly different in content/form?
My top pick for Gen Con is Indy, but that doesn't mean my top pick for Gen Con #2 would be Indy. I'm either voting for something else close to me, or something far away that I'll never go to, but has a higher probability of success because of less of an overlap of attendee base.
 
I can see this, back to back Gen Cons in Indy with limits on badges sold.  You would have Gen Con A one week followed by Gen Con B the next week, staff and vendors stay on and only the gamers change, sure some gamers will attend both weeks but that would be a small number. 

Many vendors have lives they have to get back to. And for a lot of them, the actual Con is a money losing venture. You spend a bunch of money to go to the Con in the hopes that it will translate into sales later. This is saying nothing about pricing comparatively to other Cons, I don't know those numbers anymore. But just ask a vendor, any vendor, if they'd like to stick around for a two-week GC. Any I know would think you'd lost your mind :)

dreamitdoit wrote:
I thought it was really odd that Indy was on the survey. Would they really have TWO Gen Cons in indy per year? That seems crazy pants. And who's going to attend two Gen Cons in the same year unless the two were significantly different in content/form?
My top pick for Gen Con is Indy, but that doesn't mean my top pick for Gen Con #2 would be Indy. I'm either voting for something else close to me, or something far away that I'll never go to, but has a higher probability of success because of less of an overlap of attendee base.

August isn't a good time for many people. When it's later in august, you're running up against anyone in academia's schedule. Early summer or even during a winter break may be better for some of them. Winter may be better for the person who comes without their family and for whom august is family vacation time. There are a number of reasons why a second Con in the same city could be appealing to people.

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