Conventions All Report Record Attendance
  • Conventions All Report Record Attendance


    All the main tabletop gaming conventions have announced record breaking attendance again this year. UK Games Expo had 21,700 unique attendees in June, Origins had 18,648 (interestingly not leapfrogging UKGE as it has the last few years), and Gen Con boasted "more than 60,000" unique attendees. Last year, it had 60,819, but they haven't given a precise figure this year. Here's the current chart of the four major tabletop conventions as it stands.



    UKGE 2018


    Convention Unique Attendees Turnstile Exhibitors
    Gen Con 2018 "over 60K"* 223,000 520+
    Essen Spiel 2017 unknown 174,000 900+
    UK Games Expo 2018 21,700 39,000 400+
    Origins Game Fair 2018 18,648 70,765 300+
    Pax Unplugged 2017 unknown 45,000 unknown
    *Last year was 60,819

    While Gen Con's 2018 figures are unclear, last year it has 60,817 unique attendees, 201,852 turnstile, and 500+ exhibitors. This year, it's attendance announcement says there was a record number of 4-day badge sales, +16% Saturday badges, and +60% Sunday badges.

    Gen Con this year and last year expanded into the nearby Lucas Oil Stadium.

    Essen Spiel comes later this year, at the end of October. It typically has a lower turnstile than Gen Con, and does not release unique attendees figures.

    Turnstile includes multiple entries from the the same badge holder -- so if you have a four day badge and walk in and out of the convention hall 10 times in that period, you are counted 10 times for turnstile figures. Unique attendees, on the other hand, counts the number of individuals who purchased badges/tickets.

    Conventions which don't focus exclusively on tabletop games tend to be bigger, especially those which include comic books (Italy's Lucca Comics & Games dwarfs all of these).

    Here's a look at Gen Con's attendance figures going all the way back to the 1970s. As can be seen, there's been meteoric growth since 2010. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



    Comments 53 Comments
    1. Matt S1's Avatar
      Matt S1 -
      Turnstile is so pointless. How many times someone goes outside the facility to eat or whatever? Really? Essen clearly started using that as some kind of weird measure once they saw Gen-Con attendance surpass theirs. Also explains why they don't want their ticket sales to be public.
    1. Zarithar's Avatar
      Zarithar -
      Should think about including conventions like PAX which also has a pretty large tabletop presence.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt S1 View Post
      Turnstile is so pointless. How many times someone goes outside the facility to eat or whatever? Really?
      Footfall is a useful measure. It measures traffic rather than attendance, but that's not a pointless figure.

      Essen clearly started using that as some kind of weird measure once they saw Gen-Con attendance surpass theirs. Also explains why they don't want their ticket sales to be public.
      Gen Con's turnstile is higher than theirs, too, so that theory doesn't work out.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zarithar View Post
      Should think about including conventions like PAX which also has a pretty large tabletop presence.
      I'm just tracking tabletop gaming conventions, and the four main ones at that. Video game and comic book conventions (even those with tabletop presence) dwarf tabletop conventions. Lucca Comics & Games, for example had an attendance of round 500K in 2016. Comic Con has around 200K.
    1. Matt S1's Avatar
      Matt S1 -
      Actually it does work out because Gen-Con never used to post turnstile until Essen started doing it.

      Would love to hear how "footfall" is usefull?
    1. Matt S1's Avatar
      Matt S1 -
      PAX Unplugged, which is just tabletop games. First year was in 2017 and it was great for it's first year. Felt about the same size as ORIGINS.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt S1 View Post
      PAX Unplugged, which is just tabletop games. First year was in 2017 and it was great for it's first year. Felt about the same size as ORIGINS.
      Iíll see if I can dig up some attendance figures next time.

      Edit - apparently they donít give out those figures.
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zarithar View Post
      Should think about including conventions like PAX which also has a pretty large tabletop presence.
      PAX Unplugged had about 45K turnstile last year, which isn't bad since it was the first one. It's also entirely devoted to tabletop.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
      PAX Unplugged had about 45K turnstile last year, which isn't bad since it was the first one. It's also entirely devoted to tabletop.
      Oh, cool. Where did you find that? My Google fu failed me!
    1. jasper's Avatar
      jasper -
      I can see footfall turnstile being useful for keeping the fire marshal at bay.
    1. Pauper's Avatar
      Pauper -
      Considering that GenCon doesn't have actual turnstiles, I suspect their 'turnstile' attendance is a mathematically calculated value close to what others would call 'footfall':

      (# of 4-day badges sold)*4+# of individual day badges sold

      They do have staff at the doors to the event and dealer halls, but they seem only to be checking that those passing through the doors have valid badges, not counting them.

      Regardless, though, conventions definitely seem to be a big draw.

      --
      Pauper
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      Oh, cool. Where did you find that? My Google fu failed me!
      It's not official, so it's not something where I really trust the number, but it does match my own perception. http://denaghdesign.com/pax-unplugge...entifier_0_687

      It's a great convention, excellent site, and having the PAX name on it sure helps, but I think the timing of the convention (right after American Thanksgiving) means it won't be able to break into the top tier of gaming conventions.
    1. Emirikol Prime's Avatar
      Emirikol Prime -
      Thank you, Critical Role.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      AND Penny Arcade! Those things draw crowds of thousands as well, though the Crit Role crew have quite the special chemistry that lends to people just loving to watch them. The strong friendships between them, plus their strongly expressed fan appreciation, really draws people in.

      Drop the popularity and growth of D&D5 on top of this, and it has really stricken a chord in the current zeitgeist. I just watched Joe Manganiello and Stephen Colbert geek out about D&D in front of 3 million people this week, for that matter.

      It's kinda clichť now, but it's still a great time to be a gamer.
    1. R_J_K75's Avatar
      R_J_K75 -
      Think some of you are missing the point. The hobby/industry we all love and support is alive and thriving. I think thats the bottom line!
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by R_J_K75 View Post
      Think some of you are missing the point. The hobby/industry we all love and support is alive and thriving. I think thats the bottom line!
      I donít think anybody is missing that point.
    1. Ath-kethin's Avatar
      Ath-kethin -
      According to this article, Gen Con turnstyle was over 223,000 and attendance was up 9% over last year.

      https://www.ibj.com/articles/69971-g...wn-gaming-bash
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ath-kethin View Post
      According to this article, Gen Con turnstyle was over 223,000 and attendance was up 9% over last year.

      https://www.ibj.com/articles/69971-g...wn-gaming-bash
      Good find!
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by R_J_K75 View Post
      Think some of you are missing the point. The hobby/industry we all love and support is alive and thriving. I think thats the bottom line!
      Pretty sure the numbers are simply reinforcing that narrative, actually.
    1. R_J_K75's Avatar
      R_J_K75 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
      Pretty sure the numbers are simply reinforcing that narrative, actually.
      I just wonder if those numbers are actually more than the 70' or 80s when D&D was at its original height or if its taking into account the population increase from the last 20 some years? I get out of the house quite a bit but outside of going to a gaming stores I dont meet many gamers.
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