Wizards of the Coast announced today that the company had reached an agreement to sell GenCon, North America's largest game fair, to Peter Adkison, founder and former president of WOTC. Adkison will take over hosting and managing GenCon in 2003. WOTC, which took over management of GenCon in 1998, will continue to provide full events management support for GenCon this year, the convention's last appearance in Milwaukee. For Adkison, GenCon represents, '...the best four days of gaming. This deal enables me to run a convention and stay very active and involved in an industry that is near and dear to my heart.'
WOTC CEO Vince Caluori also sees benefits in the sale of GenCon, which '...allows Wizards of the Coast to become more dedicated to our core businesses. We will be able to shift additional resources and continue to bring to market great games for our consumers.'
At one time Wizards was running both GenCon and Origins, but since its purchase by Hasbro, WOTC has gradually divested itself of its convention interests (see 'GAMA and WOTC Settle Origins Dispute'). Although WOTC is getting out of the business of running game conventions, Don Williams, Wizards Public Relations Manager, told ICv2, 'Wizards of the Coast will continue to attend and support many gaming conventions throughout the country, including GenCon, we just aren't going to be managing them anymore.'
When asked by ICv2 about a possible return to Milwaukee by GenCon, which is moving to Indianapolis in 2002, Adkison said, 'I'm the guy who made the decision to move. The convention just outgrew Milwaukee. You have to book your hotel rooms a year in advance (in Milwaukee). Indianapolis has a beautiful Convention Center and plenty of hotel capacity.'
In response to a query about what made GenCon an attractive purchase, Adkison noted GenCon's strong attendance figures (typically over 25,000), and added, 'The price was right -- I was able to buy it myself, so I don't have to share control with any other party.' Asked if he had any plans to re-enter the game market as a publisher Adkison told ICv2, 'No, not at this time, but I've learned never to say 'never.''