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Posted by brotherbock monkeyknifefight

monkeyknifefight wrote:
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.

Fair enough. :)  To be clear, I wasn't saying there weren't perfectly good reasons for people to be enjoying the Con more and more the bigger and bigger it gets. That just doesn't apply to me.

I don't go for the big games. In fact, if I'm going to demo a game in the Hall, it's very much most likely to be a small press game. I also don't spend a lot of my time demoing games. I'm running and playing in LARPs/RPGs most of my time. There was a critical mass that was reached for those sorts of games where you got a lot of players *and* a lot of games run. But attendance has gone beyond that point, with no positive effect on these sort of games.

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Posted by garhkal

del_grande wrote:
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.

For me, since i do attend Origins, Verncon (New years time frame), Charcon, Marcon and sometimes Fire and ice, part of my draw for Gencon is that it "IS" the biggest con.  There is something that has to be said about attending the biggest and best out there.  And since i have attended it when it was in the UK, i got a double dose of coolness.
kiyote wrote:I will fill it out, but there's no love for those of us not in the US in those dropdowns.  :)

It does seem like all the overseas gencons have fallen out of favor first with the Aussie one then the UK one..
tdb wrote:
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.

That is a good point.  I could actually see some of the anime/costume portions of gencon getting separated out, but some of it is still IMO core to gencon.

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Posted by brotherbock garhkal

garhkal wrote:
del_grande wrote:
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.

For me, since i do attend Origins, Verncon (New years time frame), Charcon, Marcon and sometimes Fire and ice, part of my draw for Gencon is that it "IS" the biggest con.  There is something that has to be said about attending the biggest and best out there.  And since i have attended it when it was in the UK, i got a double dose of coolness.

Would GC still be the biggest gaming convention at 30k people? I don't know the attendances of other cons (although I don't consider Dragon and Comic to be 'gaming' cons). I do know that SoCal was the 3rd largest gaming con in the country when it was running, and that was ~6k attendees.

Here's a question for anyone--not being subtle, honestly looking for opinions. What would be missing if GC attendance was at 30k? Let's say that attendance dropped just organically, just fewer people wanted to attend, but still enough to make it the largest gaming con in the country. What is there now that wouldn't be there then?

For reference, from 2003-2010 (all Indy years), attendance was between 25k and 30k. The last years of Milwaukee varied pretty wildly. The last 5 years of Mecca (93-97) were in that same range, 20k-30k, while the Midwest Express Center years (98-2002) dipped to the 19k-25k range. It's been the last years, 2011 on, that have seen the real explosion: 36k, 41k, 49k, 56k, 61k. After decades of relative stability, five years of explosive growth.

So what have those five years added, specifically, to the GC experience? What events? What debuting games? What is there now, because of those numbers (not just new games that weren't out then) that wasn't there then? Honestly want to know.

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Posted by tdb

I think there are more concerts now than there were back then.  There are more events overall, and so I would guess there are probably more game systems being played, but I don't know that for sure. 

The dealer hall keeps getting bigger too, but that may be just because it can - before the ICC was expanded there just wasn't anywhere to put more dealers. 

It seems like I see a lot more costumes than I used to too, which is cool.  It may be that the same percentage of folks wear them now as did then, but now there's twice as many, or it may be that the percentage has gone up too, I'm not sure. 

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Posted by suburbaknght brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
So what have those five years added, specifically, to the GC experience? What events? What debuting games? What is there now, because of those numbers (not just new games that weren't out then) that wasn't there then? Honestly want to know.

We've seen an increase in sheer number of events (lots more D&D, etc.) but we've also seen an explosion in the divesity of programming.  SPA is the most obvious example of this, but we're seeing lots and lots of different indie games, entertainment events (d20 Burlesque, etc.), a slough of different types of larps, seminars on everything under the sun, and so on.  These things existed at 30k, but the scope and range of these events has become mind-boggling.

And to me, this is why I love Gen Con.  If I want to go to a con and play a bunch of new board games, I'll go to Origins.  If I want to play a weekend of l5r I'll go to KC Game Fair.  If I want to do 6 different larps, I'll do Intercon.  If I want to hear geek music, I'll do Magfest.  If I want to do a line of coke off a stripper's @$$ I'll go to Dragoncon.  If I want to do a bit of everything, I go to Gen Con.

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Posted by lanefan

Filled out the survey...but it matters not as none of fall, winter or spring work well for me unless the Con is very close to home i.e. Seattle or Vancouver.  A second one in the early summer - say, somewhere between about May 15 and July 15 - would get my complete attention no matter where it is, within reason.

Also disappointed that while Atlanta and Orlando (both way down south-east) are on the options list there's nothing at all to the west - no Seattle, no Las Vegas, nothing in California, I don't even think Denver was on the list - to balance those options out and give us west-coast types something to vote for.  There's also no Canadian options e.g. Toronto to take advantage of the usually-lower (and currently much lower) dollar here.

So I ended up voting for Indy again as at least it's a known quantity and all in all isn't a bad place for a Con.
 

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Posted by braewe

It's definitely added more events. You can even get your exercise with the orc stomp run! It's added enough things that there literally IS something for everyone now. It's also taken over downtown. Used to be only the RAM catered to the gamers with the themed menus and such. Now a LOT of the restaurants do and I love it. Smaller cons don't get that at all. Most of the time the surrounding area doesn't know, or even much CARE that the gamers are there.

To tie in with more events, at a smaller con that offers varied programming, you're going to run into the same group of players at every slot. With Gen Con, if there is someone you didn't really care for one game, the chances are huge that they won't be in the next game. Because there isn't just ONE slot of Shadowrun, or D&D, or whatnot being run, there are 8, 10, 20. Also because of this, the chance to meet someone new who you DO get along with and like skyrockets. I think my friends list for gen con grows each year. 

And yes, I had fun during the smaller gen cons too...there were swag bags with stuff back then, which was neat for souvenirs...I guess I like it anywhichway, but I wouldn't consciously make an effort to chop anything out to make it smaller. I also really hope they never have to cap attendance, so if opening a second one stops that, super cool. 

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Posted by brotherbock

It's added more events, yes. But more events in proportion to the number of attendees or players? Not sure. A lot more events that you stand less of a chance of getting into isn't helpful. 

Things like the orc stomp, which I run every year, there's no evidence the number of attendees is what brought that about. In fact, it started when attendance was at the 30k number I've been talking about.

Its that jump from 30-60 in the last five years. What has *that* brought with it? We can say 'more games' but I'd want some numbers with those claims. Because the event list hasn't doubled while attendance has doubled, that's for sure. 

Btw, Denver was on the list, for whoever was wondering above. 

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Posted by dreamitdoit

Weren't there more games released AT Gen Con in 2014 and 2015 than in previous years? With its growth, I think more publishers look at Gen Con as a viable release date alternative to Essen.  I'm curious what would happen to that trend if some number of Gen Con attendees are bled off to Gen Con #2. Would a smaller primary Gen Con set us back as far Gen Con being an attractive new release option?  Or is more complex than that, perhaps being a function of both attendance and placement in the calendar (a couple of months before Essen)?

 

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Posted by brotherbock dreamitdoit

dreamitdoit wrote:
Weren't there more games released AT Gen Con in 2014 and 2015 than in previous years? With its growth, I think more publishers look at Gen Con as a viable release date alternative to Essen.  I'm curious what would happen to that trend if some number of Gen Con attendees are bled off to Gen Con #2. Would a smaller primary Gen Con set us back as far Gen Con being an attractive new release option?  Or is more complex than that, perhaps being a function of both attendance and placement in the calendar (a couple of months before Essen)?
 

I don't know about that, I'd like to see the numbers. I have heard that WOTC isn't bringing D&D officially to Gen Con this year, so 60k+ people isn't influencing them positively.

Keep in mind, the numbers I'm talking about as 'ideal' IMO were only 5 years ago. There were plenty of new releases, movies, costumes, etc just five short years ago. The types of available LARPs and tabletops haven't changed significantly in 5 years. True Dungeon was around and booming. The SPA program was there. I just don't see what's been added in those 5 years, other than doubling attendance.

Think about it that way: if I'm correct and the number of playable events has not doubled in that timeframe, then the actual 'games per player' number has gone down in that time. Meaning that the number of games out there for an attendee to play and get into, in competition with all other attendees, has dropped.

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Posted by braewe

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Posted by braewe

So since we have gencon highprogrammer around, bless him, I went and looked...and went a few years back since I noticed ac /explosion/ from 2008 to 2009. Attendance has doubled and so has the number of events. But...look. The attendance spurt COINCIDED with a huge increase in event offerings. THAT has since held, more or less, steady...keeping pace with attendance.

So while yes, five years ago it was indeed a sweet spot (loads of events, manageable attendance) the percentage of events to people has kept pace. Kudos to Derek and team then on that one, because whatever spurred the jump in events offered, also spurred the attendance. Might be circumstantial evidence, I suppose. There were more events offered in 2007 but the percentage was still below 20. When were the SPA and cosplayer events added? Anyone know?

year # events     attendance     % events to people
2008 3438           28600                12.02%
2009 6936           27900                24.86%
2010 6658           30046                22.16%
2011 8707           36733                23.70%
2012 8992           41000                21.93%
2013 11727          49058                23.90%
2014 13285          56614                23.47%
2015 14950          61423                24.34%

 

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Posted by brotherbock braewe

braewe wrote:
So since we have gencon highprogrammer around, bless him, I went and looked...and went a few years back since I noticed ac /explosion/ from 2008 to 2009. Attendance has doubled and so has the number of events. But...look. The attendance spurt COINCIDED with a huge increase in event offerings. THAT has since held, more or less, steady...keeping pace with attendance.
So while yes, five years ago it was indeed a sweet spot (loads of events, manageable attendance) the percentage of events to people has kept pace. Kudos to Derek and team then on that one, because whatever spurred the jump in events offered, also spurred the attendance. Might be circumstantial evidence, I suppose. There were more events offered in 2007 but the percentage was still below 20. When were the SPA and cosplayer events added? Anyone know?
year # events     attendance     % events to people
2008 3438           28600                12.02%
2009 6936           27900                24.86%
2010 6658           30046                22.16%
2011 8707           36733                23.70%
2012 8992           41000                21.93%
2013 11727          49058                23.90%
2014 13285          56614                23.47%
2015 14950          61423                24.34%
 

Sweet, sweet data. :)

Okay, so my impression about event numbers was wrong, that's good to know. I haven't been unable to get into any events I've wanted myself, but I'm an outlier--I run events, and the ones I play in are events that I generic into. So I almost never buy actual event tickets anymore.

Cool. 

I still maintain that hotel troubles and restaurant troubles and just the sheer crowding are negatives for me. I haven't eaten at the Ram, not coincidentally, in about five years. We try to, every year, different days. And every year it's a 2 hour wait (no joke) every time we try. Still haven't locked down an in-block room this year either. If we can't manage to, that will be a first for us as well (and we're resourceful :)

So I'm super thankful for the attendance numbers, that's awesome. It's evidence, unlike I suspected, that at least playing in games isn't getting harder. You're right, definite kudos to Derek and the GC crew for that.

I'm still firmly in the camp of having a better experience with 25k-30k. I never heard "Well I'm not going to GC anymore" because of the concerns I've listed here prior to the last five years. And while I have never said that, this many people does detract from it for me.

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Posted by brotherbock

Although, caveat looking at your post again--how many of those events are SPA and cosplayer events? Things that aren't 'games'? The numbers are still well, well off from what I thought they were. But even more info would be cool. :)

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Posted by braewe

I went back and kind of looked. SPA events actually began in either 2006 or 2007. TD separated into its own category around then too...but mostly it just looks like more of everything across the board. More board games, more card games, more RPG's, more. The only thing that has held steady, and this shocked me, is the number of events for kids. Just not very many in any year...maybe because the Pathfinder kids track was in rpg? Maybe because there is a separate area for kids in general? RPGA events also are pretty steady, so unlike, say, some of the other groups who have bumped up numbers of events to accommodate demand, RPGA has not. Not sure if this is because they don't want to, are unable to, or whatnot, but it may have some bearing on why WotC has departed gen con and left it to Baldman Games to represent. 

Being a GM for Catalyst, I know that THEY have been recruiting GM's and pestering Derek for more space pretty persistently, but I have no such insider info on other companies. I seem to recall Mr. Shiny mentioning that his group has bumped up Call of Cthulhu, so... anyone else have ideas? Perhaps Baldman and co have a limited budget (We will reimburse x amount of badges for gm's regardless of demand) or some such. As a player I know it is difficult to get into an RPGA game without a 'real ticket' unless it's that delve thing they sometimes offer, whereas Catalyst will do their darndest to seat any player who wants to play. Fairly sure Pathfinder will get you seated as well, but not as sure on this one.

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Posted by brotherbock

Some games/companies/groups have always been harder to get into, yeah. Don't know about RPGA, haven't played in one of their tourneys since Mecca. (Never played in tourneys much at all, but discovered that NASCRAG was much better when I did want to.)

My take on kids events, only having been a gamer kid and having not run any games specifically for kids, is that as a kid I liked gaming with other kids, but I wasn't all too keen on playing with people significantly older...RPGs here, not boardgames. Tastes change in what you want to do during the game, for example. So I think a lot of adults may not be all too keen on playing an RPG at least with a kid, and also vice versa. And it's a harder thing, or perceived as harder, for a teen or preteen to run a game at Gen Con (although it can be done, and more kids should think about doing it...run a game and advertise that you want kids ONLY as players :)

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Posted by keithbradburn brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
braewe wrote:
So since we have gencon highprogrammer around, bless him, I went and looked...and went a few years back since I noticed ac /explosion/ from 2008 to 2009. Attendance has doubled and so has the number of events. But...look. The attendance spurt COINCIDED with a huge increase in event offerings. THAT has since held, more or less, steady...keeping pace with attendance.
So while yes, five years ago it was indeed a sweet spot (loads of events, manageable attendance) the percentage of events to people has kept pace. Kudos to Derek and team then on that one, because whatever spurred the jump in events offered, also spurred the attendance. Might be circumstantial evidence, I suppose. There were more events offered in 2007 but the percentage was still below 20. When were the SPA and cosplayer events added? Anyone know?
year # events     attendance     % events to people
2008 3438           28600                12.02%
2009 6936           27900                24.86%
2010 6658           30046                22.16%
2011 8707           36733                23.70%
2012 8992           41000                21.93%
2013 11727          49058                23.90%
2014 13285          56614                23.47%
2015 14950          61423                24.34%

Sweet, sweet data. :)Okay, so my impression about event numbers was wrong, that's good to know. I haven't been unable to get into any events I've wanted myself, but I'm an outlier--I run events, and the ones I play in are events that I generic into. So I almost never buy actual event tickets anymore.
Cool. 
I still maintain that hotel troubles and restaurant troubles and just the sheer crowding are negatives for me. I haven't eaten at the Ram, not coincidentally, in about five years. We try to, every year, different days. And every year it's a 2 hour wait (no joke) every time we try. Still haven't locked down an in-block room this year either. If we can't manage to, that will be a first for us as well (and we're resourceful :)
So I'm super thankful for the attendance numbers, that's awesome. It's evidence, unlike I suspected, that at least playing in games isn't getting harder. You're right, definite kudos to Derek and the GC crew for that.
I'm still firmly in the camp of having a better experience with 25k-30k. I never heard "Well I'm not going to GC anymore" because of the concerns I've listed here prior to the last five years. And while I have never said that, this many people does detract from it for me.
Being a local, I can only go on friends experience about the hotels and that seems to be the need.  They are definitely going to have to be addressed especially with conventions larger than Gen Con that use dowtown and are multiple day events, examples Fanfest and FFA.  As far as restaurants go, we have never had an issue getting seated.  Yes we have had to wait, at times, but we also go to a lot of the non-chains that are downtown or ones that you have to walk more than a block or two away to get there.  I have been told that is one of the advantages of having a local guide to things.      

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Posted by david campbell

Based on that data; I have only one observation: 2008 was my first Gen Con. :)
 

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Posted by garhkal brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
Would GC still be the biggest gaming convention at 30k people? I don't know the attendances of other cons (although I don't consider Dragon and Comic to be 'gaming' cons). I do know that SoCal was the 3rd largest gaming con in the country when it was running, and that was ~6k attendees.Here's a question for anyone--not being subtle, honestly looking for opinions. What would be missing if GC attendance was at 30k? Let's say that attendance dropped just organically, just fewer people wanted to attend, but still enough to make it the largest gaming con in the country. What is there now that wouldn't be there then?
For reference, from 2003-2010 (all Indy years), attendance was between 25k and 30k. The last years of Milwaukee varied pretty wildly. The last 5 years of Mecca (93-97) were in that same range, 20k-30k, while the Midwest Express Center years (98-2002) dipped to the 19k-25k range. It's been the last years, 2011 on, that have seen the real explosion: 36k, 41k, 49k, 56k, 61k. After decades of relative stability, five years of explosive growth.
So what have those five years added, specifically, to the GC experience? What events? What debuting games? What is there now, because of those numbers (not just new games that weren't out then) that wasn't there then? Honestly want to know.

Would it still be the 'best con' at 30 or so thousand attendees?  I would say it would.  Simply for the fact that when it was down at that #s it was still da bom diggidy' to go to..

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Posted by brotherbock garhkal

garhkal wrote:
brotherbock wrote:
Would GC still be the biggest gaming convention at 30k people? I don't know the attendances of other cons (although I don't consider Dragon and Comic to be 'gaming' cons). I do know that SoCal was the 3rd largest gaming con in the country when it was running, and that was ~6k attendees.Here's a question for anyone--not being subtle, honestly looking for opinions. What would be missing if GC attendance was at 30k? Let's say that attendance dropped just organically, just fewer people wanted to attend, but still enough to make it the largest gaming con in the country. What is there now that wouldn't be there then?
For reference, from 2003-2010 (all Indy years), attendance was between 25k and 30k. The last years of Milwaukee varied pretty wildly. The last 5 years of Mecca (93-97) were in that same range, 20k-30k, while the Midwest Express Center years (98-2002) dipped to the 19k-25k range. It's been the last years, 2011 on, that have seen the real explosion: 36k, 41k, 49k, 56k, 61k. After decades of relative stability, five years of explosive growth.
So what have those five years added, specifically, to the GC experience? What events? What debuting games? What is there now, because of those numbers (not just new games that weren't out then) that wasn't there then? Honestly want to know.

Would it still be the 'best con' at 30 or so thousand attendees?  I would say it would.  Simply for the fact that when it was down at that #s it was still da bom diggidy' to go to..

Completely agree :) 

Also agree about the easier time finding seating if you go to a smaller name restaurant. But easier doesn't mean easy. I'd still rather have less crowds. If 30k people is less of a crowd. :) 

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