The 40th annual GenCon gaming convention wrapped up on Sunday after marking both its 40th anniversary and growth in new directions. The show has now become the #2 show in
The exhibit floor was 25% larger this year, with an expanded electronic games pavilion, and a new Family Fun pavilion making this exhibit space the largest ever for a GenCon. GenCon CEO Peter Adkison described the hall as 'no game left behind,' with every kind of game 'except gambling and sports.'
The show kicked off on Wednesday with the first ever GenCon Trade Day (see 'GenCon Announces Trade Day Programming'), which Adkison pronounced a success and promised to continue. The Future of Games panel that capped off the afternoon's programming was moved to accommodate an overflowing crowd. Adkison said that the event would eventually be expanded to include Wednesday evening trade exhibit hours.
Thursday and Friday exhibit hall traffic seemed brisk, with crowds easily filling the expanded space. According to Adkison, pre-registration was up modestly, with early on-site registration up dramatically.
The biggest announcement at the show was the upcoming release of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition (see 'D&D 4th Edition Announced at GenCon') in the packed Sagamore Ballroom at the convention center on Thursday evening. Attendance was capped, with fans arriving late turned away. Fans were generally excited about the release of 4E, although there were scattered boos when the presentation revealed that technology would be incorporated into the game for the first time.
But the good vibes were not limited to roleplaying games; exhibitors in other categories were busy, with strong demand for demos of the many new games released at the show. The show reflects a generally more positive year in 2007 (see 'Solid Spring Strengthens Retailers'), which seemed to kick off with a good GenCon in 2006 ('see 'Up Spirits in Down Market') despite the disappointing sales for the previous couple of years.
Although there are certainly some longtime convention-goers that aren't totally comfortable with the influx of videogames into the once pen-and-paper-only environs of GenCon, the electronic game booths were generally very well-trafficked. And the announcement of the technological component of the new D&D edition puts an exclamation point on the advancing trends that blur the lines between tabletop and electronic gaming. Electronic games are going to have a continuing impact on the world of tabletop games, not only at GenCon, but in game design and other aspects of the tabletop world.