Gen Con 2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 - Virtual Con Planned
In what is shaping up to be an unfortunate trend in these challenging times, the organizers of Gen Con, the largest annual boardgame convention in North America, have announced the cancellation of this year's convention in Indianapolis due to health and safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement comes on the heels of last week's news that Essen Spiel has also been cancelled for 2020, along with the earlier cancellation or postponement of other board game conventions such as Origins Game Fair and Dice Tower East.
The decision to cancel Gen Con in 2020 was made only after extensive consultation with Indianapolis government officials and public health authorities. “Gen Con is the highlight of our year, and we know that it means as much to our attendees, exhibitors, event organizers, and local partners as it does to us,” said Gen Con president David Hoppe. “But after carefully monitoring the situation and having ongoing conversations with experts and local government officials, it became clear that the only responsible option was to cancel the convention for this year.”
Pop-Up Gen Con, a companion program organizing in-store retail activations at participating game stores during the convention in Indianapolis, has also been canceled for 2020. However, organizers are adamant that GenCon will return to the Indianapolis Convention Center in August 2021. “We know this was a very difficult decision for Gen Con to make, but we understand and support their decision,” said Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy. “They’re great partners and we’re mutually committed for the long term. For me and so many others in our community, Gen Con 2021 can’t come soon enough.”
Additionally, in place of the in-person event, originally scheduled to be held July 30 – August 2, the convention’s organizers today announced plans for Gen Con Online, a free-to-attend virtual convention experience featuring livestreaming content, remote gaming, and other online programming. More information is forthcoming.
Those who have already purchased badges for Gen Con will be contacted directly with instructions on how to receive a refund or rollover their badges for the 2021 Convention. Hotel reservations made through the GenCon hotel block will be automatically cancelled free of charge. Due to the financial impact from the cancellation, Gen Con's organizers are urging those who have already purchased badges for this year to consider rolling them over for next year's show in order to help ensure that Gen Con can continue to retain its normal full-time staff of 14 employees until next year's convention.
While this announcement has been increasingly anticipated and speculated on by many, it will no doubt come as a disappointment to those who look forward to attending Gen Con every year. The organizers deserve praise in making a difficult decision that they felt was in the best interest of everyone, despite the clear financial implications of that choice.