No WotC At Gen Con This Year?

It looks like Wizards of the Coast will not be attending Gen Con this year. They've just posted a list of the conventions they'll be attending in 2016, and noted their intention to support conventions that they don't normally get to attend. "Gen Con is not on this list because we are changing things up to support more conventions and locations. Even though the Dungeons & Dragons team won’t be there we know our friends at Baldman Games will be hosting plenty of D&D adventures. It’s safe to say there will be ample opportunity to play Dungeons & Dragons during Gen Con. We’re excited to head to some new conventions this year and meet folks who don’t have the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis."


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The list of conventions WotC will be attending is Winter Fantasy (February, Fort Wayne, IN), Gary Con (March, Lake Geneva, WI), PAX East (April, Boston MA), Origins (June, Columbus OH), and PAX Prime (August, Seattle WA).

Chris Perkins will be hosting another Acquisitions Inc event at PAX East, and Origins will be the "D&D tabletop gaming event of the year" with sneak peeks and a return of the D&D Open. PAX Prime will have the highest concentration of D&D staff present.

Read more about their convention plans here.
 

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GrumpyGamer

First Post
I'm also not planning on GenCon again any time soon. Their archaic and downright garbage registration system really turns me off. If the hotel registration doesn't crash, you can bet event registration will, and on the off chance reg actually works, you still likely won't get anything due to their all-or-nothing queue system meant for a much smaller Con.

The GenCon tech is shockingly bad and they really need to address it; with that said, the only thing that will fix the housing block is to move to a city that has more hotels near the convention space. GenCon is too big for sleepy Indy.
 

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Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
Yeah, it's weird -- I don't really buy the official explanation, simply because other companies are doing well pitching their games at GenCon. Everybody mentions Paizo, because their taking over of the Sagamore Ballroom was to some degree symbolic of Pathfinder overtaking 4th Edition D&D. But Pelgrane Press just put out a call for GenCon GMs -- they ran over 100 sessions of Gumshoe and other games and are looking to run even more this year.

I think the real reason is that WotC figures that their money goes farther at smaller conventions. Back when they used to be a 'big wheel' at GenCon, they were paying somewhere around $75K to be a show co-sponsor, plus a significant additional amount to rent space in the main dealer hall, and, over the last two years of Next playtesting, the Next playtest space. (I'm guessing Baldman made his own arrangement for the LFR space, and I'm kind of hoping he'll find himself back in the Marriott where LFR ran its last GenCon sessions back in 2013.) Add in signage, the cost of shipping product and people all the way to Indy and back to Seattle and housing both while they were in Indy, and they were easily in the mid-to-high six figures just on this one long weekend. Costs appear to be a lot lower for Origins (and since WotC is a big wheel in GAMA, the Game Manufacturers Association, there's probably a discount there), and WotC isn't sponsoring Origins, either. And PAX? I have issues with PAX as a convention and organization, but PAX Prime is probably the easiest convention for WotC to do, given that they don't have to get their people hotel rooms or even pay them travel expenses. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if a sizable portion of the material at PAX was brought over by WotC employees in their cars rather than shipped.

It's not as though there isn't a lot of WotC product being sold at GenCon even without their presence -- I remember one year where WotC had a booth in the dealer room but didn't actually sell anything there because other vendors complained that, with WotC selling the product, they couldn't move it as quickly themselves. I don't know that vendors make the same complaints about Paizo or Fantasy Flight, but then again, I don't see nearly as many Paizo or Fantasy Flight products being sold by third-party vendors like Troll & Toad. So unless those third-party vendors suddenly decide to drop WotCs products from their booths, I doubt WotC will feel any negative repercussions worth mentioning from their decision to focus their energies on places where their bucks are worth more bang.

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Pauper
 

Hmm, yeah that's probably spot on. I bet for the cost of doing Gen Con, WotC can do Origins, Winter Fantasy and Gary Con. And although the PAX conventions are probably similar cost to Gen Con, they are always going to do those because that's where they play the Acquisitions Incorporated games. Those AI games are killer exposure for D&D since they go out online and probably bring in a lot of Penny Arcade readers/fans into the game. I guess I can get where WotC is coming from, but as someone who refuses to miss Gen Con, it really sucks to lose out on that D&D Open. Maybe I can find a way to make it out to Origins too...
 

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