There were still downtown rooms available at 1:01pm. They may not have matched the dates or number or guests but there were still rooms. I had two friends get downtown rooms between 1:01 and 1:30. There are Sunday night only rooms available right now downtown on the portal.
That said I do agree rooms seemed to go faster this year than last. However since Gen Con won't tell us how many rooms there were. How long people were given between getting assigned in the queue and a number of other things, it is just idle speculation as to why it went quicker.
It's possible that someone dropped a room or didn't finalize their transaction. Two years ago (before the lottery), I was able to get a connected room an hour after housing opened because I got lucky with that.
I was able to find downtown rooms last year on Monday after the lottery - sometimes you get lucky and find a dropped room. There still were none available at 1:45 Sunday.
This year was more difficult, I had to expand the nights I was staying to 8 nights and hotels opened up for cheaper than block rates. We use it as a family vacation so we always go early. We walk to teh zoo, various museums and go to the Childrens museum Sun-Tues. On Tuesday my wifes mother picks her and my daughter up and they head to Illinois for the rest of the week while I do Gen Con.
More rooms went into the VIG block. VIG participants had the opportunity to book twice as many rooms as they had last year 2 per vig badge.
Meh, I knew the odds I won last year I lost this year I'm not going to cry about it there are always more people than downtown rooms and I know that. I really want a downtown room but I'm not going to let not getting one destroy my favorite vacation.
If you have a big group, it's worth it to keep checking AirBnB, hotels.com, Trivago, etc. from fall until late December.