One of the largest conventions in Indiana will be delayed this year. Gen Con, which was previously scheduled for the first weekend in August in downtown Indianapolis, has been moved to September 16-19 and will feature a hybrid of in-person and virtual events.
Organizers say the in-person convention in Indy will have a capped attendance, though a specific number was not provided. The convention will also feature virtual events and livestreaming through Gen Con Online, as well as retail activations at game stores through its Pop Up Gen Con initiative.
Gen Con says it plans to adapt to the conditions of the pandemic as they are in September.
“This is the plan. Based on guidance from the CDC, recent announcements by the federal government, and the projections of public-health experts, we believe there is significant cause for optimism for a mid-September convention to be held with reduced attendance and some smart modifications,” said Gen Con co-owner Peter Adkison. “If that changes and the experts tell us we need to shift course, then the plan will change.”
Last year’s in-person Gen Con event was canceled due to the pandemic. Gen Con Online was created in its place, which Adkison says was a success.
“After the success of Gen Con Online last year, we know that the magic feeling of Gen Con can translate to a virtual format. It’s not a substitute for the in-person experience, but rather an extension of it. Just as many of us have learned how to run our RPG games over video chat or play board games on one of the incredible virtual tabletop platforms that have been developed, we’re learning how to adapt the convention experience to flexible conditions.”
Gen Con says it will announce dates for badge, hotel and event registration soon. Adkison says anyone who already has a badge for this year’s event, but feels uncomfortable attending in person, will be able to roll their badge forward to next year or receive a refund.
The convention typically draws 70,000 attendees to downtown Indianapolis. Last year, Gen Con announced an extension of its contract with Indy, keeping it in the city through 2026. The last in-person Gen Con in 2019 generated an estimated $70 million in economic impact, according to Visit Indy.
You can read Adkison’s full statement by clicking here.