Gen Con Looks to the Future After Record-Breaking 2019 Convention
INDIANAPOLIS (August 5, 2019) — Gen Con, the largest and longest-running tabletop gaming convention in North America, announces a year of continued growth in attendance, exhibiting companies, and ticketed events at its 2019 convention in Indianapolis, IN, held in the Indiana Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium, and surrounding downtown hotels from August 1-4, 2019.
The annual four-day event, which has more than doubled in size since moving to Indianapolis in 2003, sold more 4-Day and Sunday badges than in any prior year, and featured nearly 70,000 unique attendees, a record-breaking 538 exhibiting companies, and an all-time-high 19,600 ticketed events. In 2019, Gen Con also grew its livestreaming program, increased the number of electronically ticketed events, and expanded its reach with Pop-Up Gen Con, a pilot program which activated satellite events in more than 40 game stores across the U.S. concurrently with the main convention in Indianapolis.
“Each year we come to Indianapolis for Gen Con, the show feels bigger and better than the one before, and this year was no exception,” said David Hoppe, Gen Con President. “We are humbled by the support and enthusiasm of the tabletop gaming community, and we’re thrilled to see the continued growth of this hobby that we and our attendees love. Livestreaming and other digital technologies have contributed impactfully to this growth, and we’re excited to connect with new audiences in new ways as we carry our 52-year legacy of tabletop gaming tradition into the future.”
After a successful launch at Gen Con 2018, the convention’s livestreaming efforts expanded in 2019, attracting 6,900 unique viewers at peak and a combined watch time of over 3 million minutes. Content streamed live from the Indiana Convention Center included live gaming, Main Stage events, interviews, demonstrations by game publishers, and footage of the convention experience. Gen Con’s year-round livestreaming program, Gen Con TV, continues to grow, and Gen Con will produce additional shows broadcast weekly throughout the year, live at twitch.tv/gencontv and on demand at youtube.com/genconvideo.
Of the 19,600 individually ticketed events in the Gen Con 2019 event schedule, representing a comprehensive range of tabletop gaming genres and geek culture events, over 2,000 were electronically ticketed — twice as many as 2018. Organizers of e-ticketed events used the Official Gen Con Mobile App (released for public use for the first time this year) to scan attendee badges to confirm their participation.
“For residents and visitors alike, Gen Con provides a one-of-a-kind experience that lives up to its moniker as the Best Four Days in Gaming,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Each year, Gen Con sets records and expands its impact here in Indianapolis, providing attendees a quality convention experience, as well as connectivity to our city’s world-class restaurants, hotels, entertainment, and amenities — resulting in a local economic impact of nearly $70 million. This year, Gen Con is redoubling its focus on sustainability, with 100% of show signage printed on recycled materials and the use of reusable concession cups. We are proud to have Gen Con as a signature Indianapolis convention and look forward to many more winning years to come.”
This year, Gen Con took several measures to cut down on waste and reduce the ecological impact of The Best Four Days in Gaming. In addition to recyclable show signage, 27,000 sq. ft. of vinyl table coverings were replaced by linens and recyclable paper. Gen Con’s partnership with r.Cup, a reusable cup service, replaced disposable cups in all concession stands with durable reusable cups, resulting in the prevention of 24,000 cups ending up in a landfill this year.
In the pilot year of Pop-Up Gen Con, a new retail initiative expanding the Gen Con experience to local game stores, satellite retail activations occurred at 42 stores across the United States and two stores in the United Kingdom. Over 1,300 gaming fans flocked to participating game stores to play demo copies of new games released at Gen Con and gather with their local gaming community. Many participating stores featured livestreamed video from Gen Con in Indianapolis, and some enhanced the in-store experience with other events and promotions. The program plans to expand in the future to include additional stores nationally and internationally.
Gen Con 2019 attendees helped to raise over $35,000 for the convention’s 2019 Charity Partners, Game To Grow and Special Olympics Indiana. Gen Con has raised over $335,000 for charity since 2003. In a first partnership with Make-A-Wish®, Gen Con brought 13-year-old Drake Kiderlen of Troy, MO, who is battling a pineal parenchymal tumor, on an all-expenses-paid trip with members of his family to Gen Con 2019, where his wish of attending the convention, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and learning about new board games was granted.
Gen Con returns to Indianapolis July 30-August 2, 2020.
Quotes About Gen Con 2019
“Gen Con is always the most important event of the year for us, and we wouldn’t think of launching Pathfinder Second Edition anywhere else,” said Erik Mona, Paizo’s Publisher and Chief Creative Officer. “Here, we can connect to new and veteran gamers alike and reconnect with our industry partners. Gen Con is where new games are discovered, and memories of a lifetime are made.”
“As the EO [Event Organizer] for True Dungeon, we were a test last year, and I can tell you that e-ticketing was amazing and saved me tons of time counting tickets and labeling/organizing envelopes,” said Lori Martin, Executive Director of True Dungeon. “I understand that for some it’s an unknown situation, but it worked really well for us, so my suggestion is to give it a try and know that this change has been a very good one! The e-ticketing support team from Gen Con was always willing and able to assist us if we ran into an issue or unusual situation. Given that we operate from 8 am until 2 am, that speaks volumes!”
“Our customers who couldn’t make it to Indianapolis this year were extremely excited to get a mini Gen Con experience at our store,” said Kathleen Donahue of Labyrinth Games & Puzzles, a Washington, DC game store that hosted a Pop-Up Gen Con event. “They were especially thrilled to get to play some of the hot new games being released at this year’s event. Bringing community together in a safe space to play and share a fun experience is what we do, and I’m so honored that Gen Con chose us for one of their Pop-Up locations this year.”
About Gen Con
Gen Con is the largest and longest-running annual event devoted to tabletop gaming culture in North America. The convention, which began in 1968 in Lake Geneva, WI, attracts 70,000 attendees and 538 exhibiting companies each year. During the convention, attendees choose from over 19,000 ticketed events representing a wide array of board games, card games, roleplaying games, seminars, entertainment events, and more. Gen Con takes place each August in the Indiana Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium, and surrounding downtown hotel spaces in Indianapolis, IN.