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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It's the only US-based one that non-American fans tend to be able to go to, too.

Actually, I take that back - the PAXes are bigger than Gen Con, I think. Lots of folks from around the world there, I should think.
Agreed. Even people from Canada are unlikely to venture down for anything smaller, unless it's right across the border and they have time to drive.

PAX East isn't really a local con at all and I wouldn't describe Origins that way as well but it's been ages since I went to one.
Clearly, since I was already singling out Pax Prime, I missed that Pax East was on the list. Yes, neither of those are local cons. They're also primarily video game conventions.

Origins is big. But at 15,000 it's a quarter of the size of GenCon.
Winter Fantasy is <5000 people, GaryCon is <2000.
 

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Kramodlog

Naked and living in a barrel
I thought this was settled last year when there was controversy about the rewards people didn't get from WotC at GenCon. Mearls was rather clear that WotC wasn't interested in GenCon anymore.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
I thought this was settled last year when there was controversy about the rewards people didn't get from WotC at GenCon. Mearls was rather clear that WotC wasn't interested in GenCon anymore.
You are correct. The "big announcement" for GenCon last year (usually a storyline or product announcement) was that they were dramatically reducing support for GenCon.
 


JediSoth

Voice Over Artist & Author
Epic
Not surprising; if you're working with a limited budget, Gen Con is EXTREMELY expensive. My wife and I regularly spend around $1500 on hotel for Wed-Mon, and WotC is putting up more than one couple in one room. That's to say nothing of how much it costs for the exhibition space (even though they don't have space in the Dealer Hall). Gen Con isn't just giving that space to WotC for free.

From a marketing standpoint, it also sort of makes sense. At Gen Con, they're liking reaching the same people over and over again. I would wager the amount of new people they really get is pretty small compared to the overall attendance. Going to more, smaller cons would increase their exposure more. At Gary Con, they're the largest company, followed by Kenzer & Co., then there are some small pub folk in the Dealer Hall (which is a tiny fraction the size of Gen Con's; seriously, all of Gary Con takes place in one hotel). At Gen Con, they're one company among thousands. Heck, the last year they actually had a presence in the Dealer Hall, I didn't even hang out at their booth; there were too many other things to do.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Actually, I take that back - the PAXes are bigger than Gen Con, I think. Lots of folks from around the world there, I should think.

PAX prime is about the same size as Gen Con, give or take a couple thousand people. PAX East is, I think, about half the size.

I think folks are focused too much on how many people are going, and instead consider *which* people are going. Consider - is there anyone so motivated as to go to GenCon that isn't already up on what WotC is doing? It isnt' really a big marketing opportunity if they aren't reaching new people - attending GenCon would be fan service, at best.

At more local cons, they may be better able to do outreach.
 


Given how much it costs to go to one con these days, Pax Prime would have to be the new target. It's the only con I'm considering saving up for these days, anyway.
 

Hand of Evil

Hero
Epic
Seem to be limiting themselves, with their staffing these days and the OGL, maybe it is best to let the 3rd parties do 5e at Gen Con. All WotC is these days is a project team, better to hear from those that are putting out product.
 


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