As far as we can tell from the attendance numbers they released, there were actually fewer unique attendees than the record of a couple years ago. And the show was a sell-out, i.e. there was a limit, which was hit. Draw your own conclusions.
The only information I've seen that supposedly came from someone with Gen Con was the cap was set at 75,000.
Do we actually have solid info other than that?
Just that they 'targeted' 60,000 unique. That was in the press release.
The charitable explanation for this is due to the price structure of badges. Four day badges cost less than two one day badges. So - they may have created a situation where they sold so many 4-day badges that they had to cut off sales because they couldn't be sure which days people would show up to, knowing that some number of Friday/Saturday only or Saturday/Sunday attendees would have bought four day badges instead.
In any case, it is a fact that there was a period of time when Gen Con was sold out of four day badges, but you could still buy 1 day badges for each of the four days - so clearly the sell out was not completely dictated by attendance, but involved other concerns.
Anything to back this 'fact' up other than your own wild speculation?
In 2016, unique attendance was 60,819, about flat from 2015's 61,423. Turnstile went up 4%.
In 2017, turnstile attendance was up 4% from 2016 according to the press release.
There's no way unique attendance could go up 25% (from 60 to 75K) and only go up 4% in turnstile.
They could get to 75K at that turnstile, but by my math they'd have to at least double the number of single-day badges they've been selling the last few years while dropping a couple thousand four-day badges. I agree that it is extremely unlikely.
If the numbers were similar to the last five years, unique attendance would have been around 63,500 this year. Since they're not bragging about a new record I'm sure it was less than that.
brooks posted above:
"During the Running GenCon panel on Sunday afternoon Adrian Swartout specifically said the badge cap was due to a risk on being shut down by the fire marshal."
This is a key piece of info. It means that the cap is outside their control, really. bonham's belief that Gen Con wouldn't have set a cap lower than in previous years only follows if it was something within their control, which it apparently was not.
If unique visitors didn't go up, but 4-day turnstile did, it seems like they likely had more 4-day passes and fewer 1-day passes (compared to previous years).
It would be interesting to know what attendance would have risen to without the cap, but I guess we will never know. It seems like there was a always a healthy line for pay-at-the-door passes in the past.
In my highly unscientific opinion it didn't feel as crowded as other years. But honestly, if they're capping it at this level, I'm a happy camper. I'm not in danger of not getting my Judge's badge. The hotels and restaurants seem maxed out. People are aware that a sellout is possible, so anyone who really wants to attend will buy early. Why would you want more people?
To answer that question: I've always got another friend that I'd like to see at the Con and try to convince them to come.
I hear a lot of people saying stuff like "anyone who wants to go should just buy early!" or whatever.
That works for me -- I've been making Gen Con a priority for years. But, it just doesn't work for everyone. Some people have life commitments (work, etc.) that makes it difficult for them to know in February if they are going to a Con in August. One of the guys in our group didn't make it this year due to the sellout.
Stuff sells out, I get it. But, it is a loss to many that this is the case.
I just don't think unlimited tickets is a good idea. Hotels are already a big problem. The crowds seem manageable at 60k. What would 70k or 75K look like? A 75K GenCon would be a loss for anyone attending, most likely. And that would hurt the brand.
I like the cap.
Everyone who likes the cap always assumes they'll get their badge before the cap.
The cap is probably a necessary evil given the current pressure on the Convention Hall (and even the hotel space maybe), but I don't have to like it. Gone are the days when you could try to convince friends who were 'on the fence' about their availability that week.
Admittedly, I'm confident that you and I will be able to keep getting our judge's badges. Gaming groups, Independent judges, exhibitors, and vendors are the lifeblood of the convention. They can't put a convention on without all of us.
With over twenty thousand events offered this year, I think they could argue that they don't need all of us. If four day badges become a one-day sell off, I wouldn't count on GMs getting a speed pass for that line.
Four day pass = 1 Unique attendee but 4 turnstiles.
One day pass = 1 Unique attendee and 1 turnstile.
There's also the fact that 'turnstile' means each time you went into the hall, which would likely be multiple times per day. So if the four day pass person went in and out twice that's 8 times, while if the one day pass person did that it's only 2 times.
4 day badges sold out, and they were still selling Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday badges at that time.
Are you unaware of this? If you were unaware, feel free to review the announcements made in this very forum about sellouts, and you will see it is true.
If you are aware of this, surely it is obvious that the reason for no longer selling 4 day badges can't have been solely because of attendance concerns.
If you can sell each of a Thursday, a Friday, a Saturday, and a Sunday badge without exceeding attendance, then you can sell a 4 day badge without exceeding attendance.
Therefore the choice to not sell 4 day badges while still selling Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday badges shows that attendance wasn't capped when they stopped selling 4 day badges.
If you're not sure this is right, just answer this question instead:
When Gen Con stopped selling 4 day badges, which day among Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday could not accommodate further attendees?
If your answer is "none of them" - then it proves Gen Con stopped selling 4 day badges before attendance limited them.
If your answer is "X-day" - then how do you account for the fact that Gen Con was still selling 1 day badges for X-day?
Gen Con said this year's turnstile was about a four percent increase. Let'ca call it 210K.
Let's assume your 75k unique attendance estimate is correct. If the first 60K people had the identical number of four day and single day badges as in 2016, there's no way an additional 15K of attendees could raise the turnstile only 4 percent. Even if all 15K bought a single day badge, that would still result in a turnstile increase of over seven percent (15K/210K).
So the only way turnstile could only increase 4% iwhile increasing unique attendees 25% would be as Parody mentioned: you'd need to see a big decrease in four day badge sales compared to 2016. But you already rejected that scenario with your "monkeys flying out of your butt" comment.
You can't be right on both counts, and are probably wrong on both.
I think you're also wrong about how turnstile is calculated. I think it's It's done solely on the badges sold. I've never heard a Gen Official say turnstile is calculated not how many times people are going in and out if the building.