INDIANAPOLIS (September 20, 2021) — Gen Con, the largest and longest-running tabletop gaming convention in North America, returned to Indy this week for the first time since 2019, drawing a unique attendance of over 35,000 gaming fans to the Indiana Convention Center — about 50% of attendance in 2019 — for four days of gaming, shopping, cosplay, and great local food and entertainment. The convention generated an estimated $37 million in economic activity for restaurants, hotels, and other local businesses in Indianapolis.
The more relaxed atmosphere of the smaller-scale convention reminded many returning attendees of Gen Con experiences from the late 2000s and early 2010s, soon after the convention moved to Indianapolis from Milwaukee, WI in 2003.
“Above all, this felt like coming home,” said David Hoppe, president of Gen Con. “With all the challenges and uncertainties of the past two years, these four days of celebration and togetherness in Indianapolis reminded us why we do this, and we couldn’t be more grateful to our host city and our Gen Con community for sharing The Best Four Days in Gaming™ with us in person once again.”
The convention’s exhibit hall featured more than 320 exhibiting publishers and vendors, including more than 90 first-time Gen Con exhibitors. Publishers released more than 200 new games during the convention. More than 6,500 ticketed events were held over the four days, ranging from board games, card games, roleplaying games, comedy, music, seminars, the Costume Contest, Film Festival, and more.
“This year’s Gen Con was a clear success for the City of Indianapolis,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Building on valuable experience hosting major events during the pandemic, the Indiana Convention Center and event organizers demonstrated that our downtown could realize tens of millions of dollars in economic activity while maintaining the health and safety of attendees and hospitality workers. We’re already looking forward to welcoming Gen Con back next August.”
Over 90% of Gen Con’s attendees were vaccinated against COVID-19 according to surveys conducted by organizers. To further increase safety, all participants were required to wear masks while inside the Indiana Convention Center, table spacing was increased, and the building was closed nightly for cleaning and sanitization.
Though some of the largest companies normally present in the exhibit hall were unable to attend this year, many publishers in attendance reported sales as good as or better than in previous years.
“Gen Con 2021 was fantastic!’ said Glenn Drover, president of board-game publisher Forbidden Games. “It was easier to navigate the hall, everyone was excited to be back playing games, and sales were up substantially from 2019.”
“Having attended and run events in previous years, being able to exhibit at the show for the first time is a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Chad Elkins, founder of 25th Century Games. “Sure, the attendance is lower, but the excitement of being at Gen Con from everyone we talked to was just as high as previous years. We had a blast interacting with existing fans of our games and introducing new people to what we have to offer. Can’t wait for next year.”
Concurrently with the in-person Gen Con Indy convention, an additional 2,300 virtual Gen Con Online games and events were held, as well as 200 Pop-Up Gen Con retail events at game stores across the United States and abroad.
A combined nearly 50,000 people participated in Gen Con 2021 across Gen Con Indy, Gen Con Online, and Pop-Up Gen Con.
Gen Con will return to Indianapolis August 4-7, 2022.
Photographs of Gen Con Indy 2021: https://bit.ly/3lEIYat
Gen Con Logos and Brand Kit: gencon.com/press/brand-resources
About Gen Con
Gen Con is the largest and longest-running annual event devoted to tabletop gaming culture in North America. The convention, which began in 1968 in Lake Geneva, WI, takes place each summer in Indianapolis, IN. During the convention, attendees shop and demo games from hundreds of exhibiting companies and choose from thousands of ticketed events representing a wide array of board games, card games, roleplaying games, seminars, entertainment events, and more.
Media Contact for Gen Con
Stacia Kirby, (206) 363-1492, [email protected].