2019 - 20.642
2021 - 10,746
2022 - 11,689
That's... interesting. I wonder if there's a similar trend with Gen Con? It doesn't feel like it.
I don't think this will be a full attendance year at Gen Con. I attend a wide variety of different events, and of all of them, only True Dungeon and Speed Painting are sold out. Various RPGs, the Catcaombs D&D game, entertainment events, Trade Day seminars, etc.... none of them are sold out. Normally, most of the events I attend are sold out, unless they are in Room 500.
My best (uneducated) guess is that Gen Con attendance this year will be more than 2021, but less than a regular year.
Regarding Origins... the question is why? Why was attendance so low? Was it that there were a large number of people who were scared to attend? Or were a large number of people deciding not to attend because of vaccine mandates and masking? Both? Other reasons? That's what I'd be interested to see...
It doesn't help that Columbus (like Indianapolis) is completely mask-free, no vaccine requirements to enter public spaces, etc. My one friend said it was surreal to have to put on a mask for the first time in months while in the convention center and then see multitudes of attendees with their badges on, but no masks crowding into Barley's on High Street directly across from the convention center for dinner.
If you look at attendance figures for Origins versus Gen-Con you will have a hard time believing they are fundamentally the same kind of convention.
As I put it this year, Origins attendance figures suggest like 1/3 of the show's attendees get so fed up that they do not come back, and people who last attended 2-3 years ago are like "huh, I wonder if it is any better this year?" and come again.
I have pondered attending Origins but likely would be making the trek solo since most of my friends do not have the vacation time per year I do and Gencon would be preference for the group.
You also have to figure in the way inflation and the economy is going. I have heard a lot of co-workers say they are planning staycations this year. I did Myrtle Beach in March, Kansas City in April, and Gatlinburg in May and the added gas cost was hefty.
I do a Saturday day trip to Origins most years (it's about a 3-4 hour drive for me). I wouldn't mind going longer but it's a lack of vacation time. Didn't go in 2021 because it was right after Gen Con. It did seem less crowded this year.
I do know there are people who still absolutely won't go to events at all, no matter the precautions. Gen Con could be held in full hazmat with decontamination at each exit and they would think the risk wasn't worth it. Until the plague is actually gone I don't think we'll be seeing "full" attendance.
I also think there will be "full" attendance again, but that will be when new attendees have replaced the ones that won't venture out anymore. All the various conventions will have to build their numbers back up again like they did the first time.
To me that suggests a pretty stagnate ability to increase attendance especially if they stick with masks/vax as some ongoing thing. You aren't really growing, you are just offsetting who is attending by the different groups.
It may just be me, but I don't expect the Masks and Vax stuff to continue for much longer. Both comicons I am eyeing for next year didn't do either mask Mandates or Vax requirements this year. One of them that I did attend in 2021 did have a mask mandate then but not in 2022. No Vax requirement either year. [The Pexi-glass divider did get me to stop getting photo ops all together. I won't go back to getting them while it is a thing.]
I fully expect what they mentioned about Origins having attendees masked at the convention then unmasked right across the street to happen at Gencon as well since as it stands today, Indianapolis doesn't have a mask mandate like Columbus didn't.
Eventually simple business economics will prevail because it is a poor business move long term to divide a customer base. These past two years there was going to be a divided customer base no matter what any convention did or did not do. Going forward, if the conventions want to get back to the 2019 numbers, they are going to have to bridge that divided customer base.
Attendance at GenCon will be down and it's directly tied to their policy of requiring proof of vaccination AND the mask requirement. I have attended GenCon every year for the past fifteen years, including last year, and will NOT be attending this year. Sorry, but if my proof of being fully vaccinated isn't enough, then you don't get my money. Wearing a mask is NOT happening for me or my group again.
No, it will be up from last year. You and your group are not in the majority. I do hope you come back though!
I am not happy about the mask mandate but I am coming this year. In the last several months I have been many places, airports, international flights, concerts, movie theaters, shows and huge parades. None of them required a mask. I think Gen Con is behind the curve here. It makes it particularly hard to play D&D, where there is already a lot of background noise and you can't get any visual clues from the speaker.
If they have a mask mandate next year I won't come. Covid will be around forever. If the hospitals were struggling I might feel different, but they are not.
Yes, masks are personally annoying, but it would be different if the CDC wasn't still recommending masks for large indoor public gatherings such as GenCon. GenCon is still using the science.
The CDC is recommending masks for airports and airplanes, yet that isn't a requirement.
This trend is very similar to last summer early June with new cases in low hundreds (June 2, 2021 261 New Cases) and 2 years ago (June 1, 2020 255 New Cases) and in both previous years there was a late summer spike - pretty bad in August 2021 leading into a really bad winter spike. With Omicron ba.5 and ba.6 right now again targeting and doing permanent damage to the lungs, we're well ahead of the previous 2 year trends for this point in the year and there's no reason not to expect it to spike up to the hospitals overwhelmed limits again.
I'm not sure if link allowed, but it's starting in metro cities: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/top-ny-doctor-new-covid-wave-is-starting-with-the-worst-version-of-omicron/3752858/?fbclid=IwAR1Vh8tVnVO_L-snIjccpObJhrsI_bFCucTCmZme3b2bGYiTCurPJNNn70o
There are plenty of adages in history about being pro-active vs reactive but I don't think mask haters are familiar with any of them.
Edit to clarify: I'm vaxxed and double boosted. I have been wearing a mask for 2 years now. We were originally told that it was to prevent the hospitals from being over-run. Now that isn't true, but the mask mandate continues. The conditions we can stop wearing a mask are not specified. I attended last year at Gen Con. My enjoyment was definitely reduced, but I understood.
It was not my intent to start a vax/mask debate. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming.
Again, I don't sense the same thing happening with Gen Con (or at least to the Origins extent). The Exhibit Hall is sold out and events are strong if not to 2019 levels. Downtown hotels are sold out...although we don't know the inventory.
Personally, I'll support Gen Con as long as it stays in Indy (and hopefully beyond). I'm sure they are still recovering from the 2020 cancellation.