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GenCon SoCal Throws In the Towel

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hhgttg-reference-intentional dept.

Role Playing (Games) 36

The official GenCon website is hosting the official press release with the news: the West coast GenCon is no more. Citing 'competing shows' in the Southern California area, the RPG convention is closing up shop so that staff can focus on the Midwestern/East Coast Flagship event GenCon Indy. In an open letter from Peter Adkinson, he states how much he regrets this decision, and describes the four years of the event as well as the decision-making that led to this state of affairs. In his long discussion of the event, he downplays the attempt to merge with the IDG event and the inclusion of videogames into the GenCon formula. Though it's not listed as a root cause, the death of E3 would seem to be having a ripple effect here as well. He makes sure to point out that GenCon Indy isn't going anywhere, and that this year's 40th anniversary should be an interesting one.

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Bi-Mon Sci-Fi Con (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17784372)

SCIENCE FICTION
                CONVENTION
        SET PHASERS ON FUN!
 

No Place to Hold It (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17784380)

Dave's mother kicked him out of their basement anymore. Have to go hang out in some other parents basement. Don't know where we'll have his 40th birthday now never mind GenCon.

Not GenCon Indy's 40th... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17784444)

He makes sure to point out that GenCon Indy isn't going anywhere, and that this year's 40th anniversary should be an interesting one.
This is hardly GenCon Indy's 40th anniversary. It was held in Milwaukee until a few years ago when the black-hearted devils at WotC decided that Wisconsin wasn't cool enough for an annual nerd convention. D&D was invented here, you bastards!

Re:Not GenCon Indy's 40th... (1)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17786666)

Doesn't the "Gen" in GenCon come from "Lake Geneva"? As in, Wisconsin?

Hell, I'm from Canada and even *I* know that.

Re:Not GenCon Indy's 40th... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787454)

1. Gen Con originated in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

2. Gen Con would still be in Milwaukee if there was enough space. The city opted not to expand the number of available hotel rooms, so Gen Con did what it had to do.

If you're going to lie, do a better job of it. (2, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787978)

1. True.

2. Gen Con would still be in Milwaukee, if the organizers had been willing to move it back one weekend.

Milwaukee has TONS of hotel space. It's just hard to hold an event in the city when you're on the same weekend as the Wisconsin State Fair's final weekend.

Instead, they moved it to Indy... and now the same complaints (lack of hotel space mostly) are coming back, and none of the vendors want to drive all they way to fucking boring Indianapolis.

Re:If you're going to lie, do a better job of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788674)

"and none of the vendors want to drive all they way to fucking boring Indianapolis."

Ummm, yeah, because Milwaukee is like the Las Vegas/Disney Land/[insert happening spot] of the upper-midwest.

Re:If you're going to lie, do a better job of it. (1)

_Hiro_ (151911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798786)

So what about the Twin Cities? I could stay with the in-laws if it was in Minneapolis. :P

Or Chicago?

Cleveland?

Pittsburgh?

Any of the above are relatively easier to get to. I'd suggest Columbus, but we already know that WotC wants nothing to do with that town...

Re:If you're going to lie, do a better job of it. (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802916)

"Milwaukee has TONS of hotel space."

And Indy has tons MORE hotel space. Just because geeks are sentimental about Milwaukee doesn't mean it's a good location for business.

Re:If you're going to lie, do a better job of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17806074)

Indianapolis may be boring but so are all of the other major mid-west cities.

What's Next I Wonder... (4, Insightful)

MrNash (907751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17784520)

There seems to be a lot of conventions in flux recently. It makes me wonder what will next to hit the chopping block, and what will be slapped together at the last minute and get called a convention in a desperate, last minute attempt to fill the vacuum left by yet another shut down show. :\ It also brings up the question, at least in my mind, of whether it's just the current climate of the shows that has shut them down, or if it's a convenient scapegoat to hide behind when poor planning is the real culprit. In the case of E3, I certainly feel that was the case. Organizers could have done a lot more to overhaul the show and stop it from being a circus, but they didn't. Now it's gone.

Re:What's Next I Wonder... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789648)

I think it's economics.
Tkaing E3 as an example (sorry to all you marketers whose job rides on this) but someone in some position of authority had to do the math and say 'wait a sec; we're spending HOW many hundreds of thousands on this event, the booth, the bimbos, and sending a few flunkies on a junket...for what again?'

Re:What's Next I Wonder... (1)

MrNash (907751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17793542)

Oh, I agree that's certainly part of it. The way companies were were setting themselves up with booth babes, rediculously loud music, increasingly opulant booths, and so forth, it was really getting out of hand at E3. When things at these sorts of shows become more spectacle than anything remotely useful, the blame still falls on the companies that agree to fork out all the extra dough. They get to the point where, whether they realize it or not, they're following the old saying, "Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle." A lot gets lost in the mix when this happens, some games don't get the attention that they might otherwise if they weren't being showcased in a madhouse. When things fall apart, the companies simply claim that the show has lost its relevance, when their own shortsightedness is the problem.

Is the internet to blame (3, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17785060)

Pre-Internet, the only way to find like minded people was to go to cons. Now there are tons of communities that have sprung up, and they normally know what the next thing coming out will be, so whats the point in a convention?

Re:Is the internet to blame (0, Troll)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17785208)

Hot pissy vomit-sex with other likeminded bearded degenerates.

Same with anime (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17785598)

I love conventions, and I also love local group meetings. All of this has been damaged by the internet.

Thank God for miracles like meetup.com.

Re:Is the internet to blame (2, Interesting)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17785848)

I dunno, I'm only 24 so I pretty much grew up in the internet erra as far as being a gamer, yet I've gone to GenCon every year for the past 5 years, and to Origins for many of them.

Several reasons bring me, and others to Cons.

First would be finding like minded people. There's just something about hanging out with tons of people who like the same thing you do that just isn't replicated by internet communities and such.

second: A LOT of companies run major events at cons that you can't really do anywhere else. For card games its world championships/qualifiers, for RPG's its major storyline events, for board games its release of new games. Etc.

Third: YOu get to find out a lot about new games / new game companies that you just wouldn't hear about otherwise, even with the internet. Plus you can demmo new games with the game designers, how cool is that?

Fourth: Vacation. honestly, I like taking my vacation to a con. I have something to do the whole time with minimal planning on my part. Its perfect. Plus I'd rather be doing that than sitting on some random beach staring at the ocean all day.

Re:Is the internet to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787928)

Fifth: You don't have to bathe for a whole week! And NO ONE NOTICES...

Re:Is the internet to blame (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787604)

For lots of fan cons this is true, but GenCon is mostly about tabletop gaming, not meeting other fans of the games, but actually playing the games! Games like that either can only be played face to face or lose something when played over the internet. Even people that have a regular gaming group go to these cons to play with different people for a change. I think you have to blame something other than the internet for the failure of GenCon SoCal.

Internet can't replace Gen Con (1)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787784)

The best things Gen Con provides can't be replicated online. You can't play a LARP online. You can play some boardgames online, but you can't have hundreds of different board games, card games, wargames, and role-playing games demonstrated for you. To the extent you can, the demonstrations are less effective for the lack of a direct person-to-person connection. Gen Con provides an opportunity to play role-playing games you've never played. It provides an opportunity to play RPGs you normally do, but with exposure to new players and GMs you broaden your horizons. You can't do crazy things like the Gamer Olympics or True Dungeon over the internet. Sure, you can play some wargames online, but the online experience can't replicate physically moving figures across an elaborately built board.

Re:Is the internet to blame (1)

Ailure (853833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788464)

I dunno, some type of cons have grown thanks to the internet.

I swear that both anime-cons and furcons have gotten bigger for example...

Re:Is the internet to blame (2, Insightful)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789082)

Given that I now move from place to place, the Internet is really the only way I'd know about a con.

That said, my reasons to go to a con?

  1. I can play with a variety of different people.
  2. I'm away from home, so I can continue to play without chores interrupting.
  3. I see products sometimes that I wouldn't otherwise bother with.
  4. Goodie bags are fun!
  5. With the significant number of rather large people, I feel very in shape.
So, there are reasons to go. The question is do the con organisers realise these reasons?

Re:Is the internet to blame (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802290)

so whats the point in a convention?

Alcohol and nerd sex.

Scary as it sounds, it is the only reason I kind of go to a con.

But it usually only involves the former instead of the latter, but maybe this year.

Here's why... (1)

evel aka matt (123728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17785494)

I was at GenCon SoCal...it sucked. Seriously. I was extraordinarily disappointed with the event.

They did have Dirk Bennedict signing autographs one year, though.

Since 1992 (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17785666)

I went to GenCon religiously UNTIL it was aquired and turned into the crappy circus it last was. The entire blog outlines how he aquired it and ran it into the ground with an unproven model. Never once did he go back to a traditional small Westin Hotel convention like Orccon and Strategicon still are.

Re:Since 1992 (1)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788100)

You know that GenCon was huge before this guy acquired it, right? Indeed, it started small, but that was some time ago. There is a place for small local cons, and they do rock. GenCon, however, is the Mecca of geek - and it has been for some time. This guy just took it from WotC, which is a good thing, since they are much more open to a wider variety of games now.

Re:Since 1992 (1)

shinma (106792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790136)

Uh, Peter Adkinson FOUNDED Wizards of the Coast. He didn't take GenCon away from them.

Re:Since 1992 (1)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791210)

Check his wikipedia entry : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Adkison [wikipedia.org]

Yes, he was a founding member of WotC, but he is no longer a part of that company. And he did buy GenCon from them after the Hasbro thing.

Why SoCal? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788224)

you know there's far more to the West Coast than simply Southern California. I have a feeling that part of the reason why the GenCon failed there is that there simply isn't a huge RPG following in that area. I bet if they tried Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco they would have much better luck.

Re:Why SoCal? (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790144)

you know there's far more to the West Coast than simply Southern California.

Ya, but the rest of it sucks. ;-)

Seriously though, gaming in Southern California seemed to be in a rut the last time I went to a con. All of the RPG events were either D&D or Vampire. Or, god save us all, Vampire LARP. After reading the flier a few times and not seeing anything different, I just gave up on Cons here. And, not being willing to fly to halfway across the country for a con, I never even looked into GenCon, so this is the first I ever heard about it being on the West Coast. Which is part of the reason I think it failed, it doesn't seem like it was well advertised, or if it was it must have been limited to the LA Metro area. And there's more to Southern California than LA, though ya, much of it sucks, but no where near as much as LA.

Re:Why SoCal? (1)

CosmicLaxative (609396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803004)

Talking about Seattle ... Seattle's already got it's big con -- PAX (http://www.pennyarcadeexpo.com/)!

PAX is Penny-Arcade's convention that they've been running for a few years. While it is mostly oriented towards computer gaming there's still a ton of board gaming and traditional RPG's.

Re:Why SoCal? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803170)

I did not know- but will check that out. I'm in Portland so Seattle is very reachable;-)

Well, that sucks. (1)

wwphx (225607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790676)

I lived in Phoenix for 43 years, finally start a game company (http://www.sparebrainsgames.com) and don't make it out to GenCon SoCal. Then I move 500 miles further east, making it a two-day drive. And now they fold it. Oh, well. I've flown to Origins before, I can fly there again.

Competition (1)

jelwell (2152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790698)

The competition is thick:
http://www.protospielwest.com/ [protospielwest.com]
http://www.strategicon.net/ [strategicon.net]
Joseph Elwell.

Re:Competition (1)

wwphx (225607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790802)

I wouldn't call Protospiel West competition, it's a symposium for game designers to test their games and get feedback from other game designers. And this is it's first year, so it may or may not last a few years; in fact, it's only a one-day event and it was yesterday.

Strategicon was a very good convention, I attended it for a number of years when I worked for Flying Buffalo. But it's been probably 5 years since I was last there.

I do a Phoenix game con called Phoenix Con Games [conevents.com] which is a very good local convention. There's also HexaCon [hexacon.org] , but the parent scifi corp screwed over the organizer so he founded Con Games, a much better event.

Re:Competition (1)

jelwell (2152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790908)

I just got a postcard from Stategicon the other day. They're under new management, and they have a great guest host this year: Reiner Knizia. I also haven't been to Strategicon is a long long time, but this new management might be on to something.

Any organized Gaming group is going to be perceived as competition. Let's hope that Protospiel West survives longer than GenCon West.
Joseph Elwell.
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