America’s Largest Tabletop Game Convention Moves Online
Bowling Green, Ky (July 30, 2020) - COVID-19 put the damper on the board game hobby – the need to social distance and the new challenges of getting together with friends make it hard to sit around a table rolling dice. Many game conventions, where game enthusiasts converge to play the newest games and learn about upcoming releases, have been put on hold.
The largest and longest-running tabletop game convention in North America, though, has opted to use the power of broadband to move completely online.
Gen Con, the tabletop game convention held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana, has grown in popularity since its inception in 1968. Last year, Gen Con brought together 70,000 attendees to participate in nearly 20,000 different scheduled gaming events. Magic the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Catan, and hundreds of games shared by independent game designers were played at tables in the span of four days.
This year, amid a global pandemic, such an in-person gathering is impossible. Therefore, Gen Con 2020 has charted a different course and gone totally online.
This means that starting today, thousands of gamers, artists, authors, and more are gathering virtually from around the globe. Virtual simulators are taking the place of physical tabletops. Game designers are showing off their newest creations in a “virtual dealer hall” through videos where gamers learn how the new games will be played and allow customers to buy those games (once again, via the internet).
Proceeds from the convention will go toward local charities, and event organizers are offering events at all hours of the day and in multiple languages to include international attendees for the first time.
It will be different, certainly, and a change of pace from the crowded rooms from previous years’ conventions. There will be several benefits, as well, from hosting the event online – quieter settings, easier access for international attendees, and no hotel or travel expenses, to name a few.
For those who are interested in trying out this new experience, games start today and run through Sunday, August 2; tickets for some of the events are still available throughout the weekend. Just head here: https://www.gencon.com/online.
This is a prime example of how broadband helps bring people from around the world together. Instead of this becoming yet another part of life that got canceled by the pandemic, Gen Con Online may be the start of new event that gamers can anticipate for years to come.
About the Author: Chris works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings.