Gen Con, the largest and longest-running tabletop gaming convention in North America, has announced 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.
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.
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.
The convention results in a local economic impact of nearly $70 million. Gen Con has redoubled its focus on sustainability, with 100% of show signage printed on recycled materials and the use of reusable concession cups.
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.