Disclaimer. I have a connected downtown room, a badge, and a great family income.
Who is Gencon 2016 marketed at? As the price increases 10% for badge and hotel each year, the average salary gamer with a family not in the area has gone from an affordable 600 dollar average to a minimum 2k average.
So i ask, whom is this Gencon marketed for. Gencon sends out emails every year about the attendance increasing, and yet that has made no dent in the average ticket cost. In fact, if you graphed it out, gencon seems to increase ticket prices along the same increase of attendance percentage. Trend this with inflation and Gencon's ticket and gencon seems to be moving far ahead of inflation. Normally when a company does this, they are moving their product to be marketed for a different income bracket, ala Apple circa early 2k.
I would love to hear a frank and honest answer, no anger, but whom is this gencon for? I don't want to hear the marketing answer, because clearly, statistically, it feels that gencon is moving towards the wealthy gamer. I happen to be in a great place with the family, and if i went to solo game it would be great. But i have friends who arn't as lucky, so is gencon for that average gaming group anymore? the one where 2 folk are clearly not making the same income as everyone else? What types of changes have u made for gencon this year to accomodate your gaming group and still deal with the spiking cost?
Gen Con is, has always been, and always will be, for every gamer.
That said, Gen Con does cost, and more than a lot of local cons. There are a lot of reasons for this; not the least being that Gen Con rents the entire convention center (and now part of Lucas Oil stadium), and that's very expensive. A smaller local con in one hotel can usually work out a deal with that hotel for cheap or free convention space in exchange for room nights; the convention center has no such incentive. That's just one of many examples to explain why the convention does have a higher cost than a local or regional con.
You can attend Gen Con and spend thousands of dollars, or you can spend a couple of hundred. It all depends on what you want to do. I have seen people rent a house or a fancy suite for the week. I've also seen people volunteer for Gen Con or work for an exhibitor, and stay at a cheaper hotel 15-20 minutes away for less than $100 a night, even stay at the KOA campground, and basically attend for free.
Anyone can do Gen Con, of any level. It's not by any means just a rich man's con. It's everyone's con.
You also have to consider that over the past few years they have been using more and more space in the ICC, and this year they have Lucas Oil Stadium. I'm sure the powers that be know Gen Con needs that room and I'm sure it's NOT cheap.
I've never spent anywhere close to 2k for the convention. The group I go with is all recent college graduates or current studets: not exactly a demographic known for its deep pockets. But we save, and find ways to split the costs with each other, and we don't go overboard in the dealer's room or auction, and we manage just fine.
I guess to answer your question I'd first look at what you're been looking at and what's been said in refrence, housing arrangement and your badge are really just a prerequisitie to 'play the games' as it were. Although part of enjoying the experience it's not really what Gen Con is (I guess you could just buy a badge get a room and walk the halls of the convention center but that's some pretty advanced levels of people watching and kind of pricey). If you're curious to what Gen Con is marketed to I think Marimaccadmin stated a answer that gives you the basics, if you'd like to dig through what was offered versus what did well in at least selling out do a google search for: high programmer gencon 2015 and you'll see what was ofference in bulk and what sold out.
If you have friends who aren't as lucky and you want them out you can do what I did one year for someone who was stressed out about work/life, I invited them out to Gen Con (they had never been), I change my King room to a Double Queen, told them to buy a ticket all they had to do was pay for what they wanted to eat/drink and we just hung out at Gen Con. There's definitely something for everyone and a lot of things to try to get you out of your comfort zone of gaming (at least for me). Hope that helps you towards finding an answer.
Let me clarify. This is coming with the statistics that the average attached hotel stay at gencon upon moving to indiana was 120 dollars for 4 days plus 60 a ticket. That would equate too 710 dollars in 2007. In 2016 the average ticket price is 100 plus 22o for 4 days of hotel room. That's 1220. When including taxes and fees both should be multipled by about 14 percent .
I do not mean to be misleading. Gencon was run by gamers and eariler days, profit was not a main goal. However, things change over time. I don't know what the goal if Gencoon LLC is. Clearly every companys goal is to make money, but company's differ in how they make the money.
Gencon's model now is an aggressive proffit one. There is no limit on the amount of merchandize (badges they sell) and they are increasing the cost of that product at a steady rate, possibly looking for a ceiling, which has not shown yet. Not all comnpany's look for a "ceiling" hoping to instead mantain a consistent customer base.
Also - you'd have people much more happy with a stay out by the airport if reliable transportation was not an issue. As it stands, parking is pricey (and unreliable) there is no public transportation, this year there is no shuttle bus, and it's not realistic any longer to say "Well, just stay out by the airport."
ESPECIALLY, when you consider the fact that the con is basically 24 hours. You lose a lot of the time you are paying for when you have to spend 20-30 minutes in the car each way back to your hotel.
For the second year in a row I was hosed with a sh*t lottery time. I have NO hotel booked, currently. This would have been my 12th Gen Con. For 9 of those years I have stayed at the Westin. This year I have NOTHING booked and can't even pay the exorbitant out of block prices because there are no out of block rooms left.
I am one of those wealthy gamers that regularly spends $1000's of dollars at the Con and I can't even do so if I wanted to. We're DINKS with a lot of excess income. Tonight we will be making a hard choice and after over a decade my husband and I will probably be calling Gen Con quits - if we attend this year by some miraculous way of getting a room - this will be it.
It's frustrating as someone who has introduced dozens of people to this convention. Who has talked it up to strangers and co-workers and friends and family. I'm frustrated because until this stupid lottery was introduced I was the one who spent my time ensuring all of my friends and family that wanted to go to Gen Con could go. I've booked dozens and dozens of rooms for Gen Cons throughout the years. And now I can't even secure my OWN room.
And I get frustrated when people say "You can have a good time if you're out by the airport. It's not the end of the world." Well, it is in the end of the world when you want to have a nice, luxurious vacation without a schedule, without a worry and instead you're left with the option of "well, maybe refresh the housing block for the next 6 months and see what happens." There is not even a wait-list any longer so I can't even "set it and forget it".
Of course prices are going up. As demand increases that nearly always follows.
And there is no denying that as prices go up some people will be "priced out" of attending. It is the main reason my friends and I are considering going to other cons in place of Gen Con in the future. We can afford two other trips for the price of one Gen Con trip or we could fly to something like PaizoCon for what we are spending to stay downtown.
But also look at it this way, there are that many more people *able* and *willing* to pay that kind of money to come to Gen Con. Insert quip about the economy not being that bad here.
I say that as someone who has always stayed downtown, including this year. We have been very lucky in the hotel draws and before the lottery I have had one of the fastest internet connections in the country to get me "in" so to speak.
But I have been attending Gen Con since MECCA and I remember going for the gaming and not because 100,000 other people now consider it a passing pop culture fancy. And yes, I find that part annoying (fine, that isn't PC to say but the crowds are interfering with my ability to do the gaming that Gen Con used to be about and there really isn't any argument to that).
When I started attending Gen Con, from year to year I would meet up with the same multiple dozens of gamers from across the country and that part has been lost. We would know their names and plan to see each other each year. Now I am lucky to see 20 people I know at Gen Con and 8 of those are from my home gaming groups. The lottery keeps many at home and others have given up for the same reasons I mention - they want the gaming and not the hype.
Thats a personal thing and I am sure others will think bigger is better - no problems there - I get it. Profit drives all. There will be a point, not sure when, that we find another place that fills the role Gen Con used to have for us. That doesn't make Gen Con bad, just not what it used to be. I am sure there are 100,000 more people watching the Big Bang Theory who will take my place. :)
I really do think the lottery is fair. And it sucks not to get a downtown hotel -- that happened to my group this year and it is the first time we've never been able to get a downtown hotel. We have a fast internet but we'd all be locked out for over an hour as the entire portal crashed before the lottery. It was so upsetting. And I do wish they'd bring back the wait list. It seems like that worked wonders for lots of people here on the forums.
I seem to remember reading somewhere in a financial report and/or demographic breakdown it is targeted at the demographic with 100k+ household income. Either that or a large percentage of the attendees are in that bracket. Maybe both. GenCon is expensive which is why I only go sporadically.
On the other hand, that luxurious vacation people want is still there; you just have to pay for luxury. Every year we get some people who say that Gen Con should do away with the housing block entirely and let market forces control everything. We also say we should go to even more of a planned economy approach, with various priority systems to determine who gets rooms. I think it's great that Gen Con has an option for both: if you absolutely must have a downtown room, if you absolutely must have that luxurious experience, you have the option to pay for it (there are still downtown rooms available fom the hotels directly, for abotu $579/night). If you need a cheap room you can easily get one at a distance from the con for $80/night. To paraphrase the old saying about tech development, you can have your hotel close, cheap, or easy to get, but you only get to pick two. 56,000+ people want the close hotel that's $100/night that they get just for the asking, and that's quite simply impossible.
Where are you seeing these rooms? Because I cannot find them on booking.com or orbitz or expedia or through Starwoods or Marriot or anything.
Just did a search on Marriott's site. Residence Inn Indianapolis Downtown on the Canal has rooms for $499. They are downtown, not connected but in walking distance.
I am getting a "No rooms are available at this hotel" notification.
The price for our family this year sure does feel like this is a rich person's Con. Like the orginial poster, I have a downtown room (for a mere $400 per night out of block with parking), badges for our family of 4 and a husband who makes a good living. The thing is, I'm starting to feel like a sucker. These are the prices of a luxury vacation.
We still manage to run into many of the same people each year, and I love that my kids interact with people of all ages and backgrounds. For me, even though we can afford this vacation, there comes a price point where shouldn't go. I'm at that point, but my husband isn't. And this year, he wins.
Glory, also look at hilton . when i checked yesterday they had a suite for 490 a night from tuesday through sunday but it asks for all cash up front.
The luxury thing is interesting. We are going on an all inclusive cruise to hawaii for 15 days. To me that's luxuary. Is walking to the conference you are attending considered a luxury and is it fair to upgrade this to "luxury" when it was not a luxury prior.