Gen Con 2022 will return to its traditional summer timing next year, the announcement of the US board game event’s dates has revealed.
The organisers of the Indianapolis convention confirmed that Gen Con 2022 will be held from August 4th to 7th 2022.
The show was held annually each August almost every year (2003’s late July dates is one exception) from its informal 1967 inception up to its first cancellation in 50-plus years during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The digital event that replaced 2020’s physical gathering, Gen Con Online, was held from July 30th to August 2nd.
This year’s Gen Con was delayed to mid-September as the result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the first time that the convention has not taken place during the summer. The hybrid event was made up of a returning in-person show - albeit with reduced capacity for health and safety reasons - Gen Con Online and the Pop-Up Gen Con initiative comprising game demos hosted in 200 local hobby stores around the world.
Gen Con 2021’s physical show saw 35,000 visitors in the Indiana Convention Center, according to its organisers, approximately half of the 70,000 attendees recorded in 2019. With Gen Con Online and Pop-Up Gen Con attendance included, the combined figure is said to be closer to 50,000 people.
Ahead of the returning physical show, Gen Con’s organisers revised their health and safety guidelines in relation to COVID-19, making face masks mandatory for all visitors and exhibitors after initially announcing that visitors with proof of vaccination would be able to optionally forgo a face covering. While proof of vaccination for entry was said to be in discussion with local and state authorities ahead of the event, no such requirement was ultimately put in place. Publishers and attendees reported large, tight-knit crowds on Gen Con’s first day, with subsequent reports from the show floor noting general adherence to the advised social distancing and mask-wearing.
Several major tabletop publishers announced their absence from this year’s Gen Con as the result of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, including board game giant Asmodee - the owner of studios including Fantasy Flight Games, Z-Man Games, Catan Studio and Days of Wonder - Cyberpunk Red RPG publisher R. Talsorian and Pathfinder RPG company Paizo. A number of companies missing on the show floor appeared as part of Gen Con Online’s digital game demos, sessions and panels. According to Gen Con’s organisers, over 320 exhibitors attended the physical show, with more than 200 new games released during the four-day event.
Gen Con is yet to confirm whether 2022’s event will once again comprise a hybrid format spread across the in-person show, Gen Con Online and Pop-Up Gen Con when it returns next August.