This is an open letter by Peter D. Adkison, CEO of Gen Con LLC, about the future of Gen Con in light of the E3 announcement.


Dear Tabletop Gaming Fans and Professionals:


A few days ago E3 announced that they will be changing their format.  In case you aren't familiar with the inner workings of the electronic games industry, E3 is the premier trade show in North America for electronic games.  This show is hosted annually at the Los Angeles Convention Center and regularly attracts hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of industry professionals.  For reasons I won't speculate about, E3 has announced that they are changing their format from that of a large trade show to a smaller event focused on meetings and the press.


This has left many electronic game companies wondering about what their strategy should be in the future for the promotion of their games.  Well, today we at Gen Con LLC are issuing a press release that will announce our intention to court these electronic game companies and we will describe some initiatives we are undertaking to better support electronic games.


The purpose of the letter you're reading right now is, essentially, spin control.  As a fan of tabletop games it would be easy to read this press release and think that Gen Con is abandoning its roots.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, we will be working harder to bring electronic games companies to Gen Con, but we will also continue to work hard to support the business of our current tabletop games exhibitors.


Just as importantly, we will not be taking any steps backwards in terms of supporting programming for tabletop games.  Our shows will continue to have vast amounts of space dedicated to card games, roleplaying games, miniatures game, board games, and live action roleplaying games and we will continue to host non-gaming events of interest to gamers, like our costume contest, our games auction, True Dungeon, the Gen Con Fan Film Festivial, and our art show.


And are also investing in new initiatives for tabletop games as well.  For example, this weekend at Gen Con Indy we will be showing a prototype 'RPG Room of the Future', courtesy of our friends at the Geo. Fern company.


Instead of having multiple roleplaying games in the same room where the noise from one game interferes with the game at a table just a few feat away, we plan to work with our decorator to build a vast maze of roleplaying mini-rooms within the RPG area, greatly improving the quality of the roleplaying experience.


But in addition to all that, as our press release indicates, its our plan that there will also be a bigger presence of electronic games.


Electronic games are not new to Gen Con; every year several of these companies come to our show.  Its just that this year, in the wake of the

E3 announcement, we want to remind all those companies that we are here, that they are welcome, that we are eager to learn what we can do to make Gen Con support their promotional requirements, and that, as the biggest open-to-the-public games convention in North America, we are an excellent venue for launching new games or for showing support of existing games--whether those games happen to be powered by electricity or by more analog means!


Peter D. Adkison

CEO, Gen Con LLC and Hidden City Games LLC

Written on August 8th, 2006, from the Indianapolis Convention Center while preparing for Gen Con Indy.


The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of