W. Eric Martin
Gen Con 2015 was the largest game convention yet in Indianapolis, Indiana — 61,000+ unique attendees, 400+ exhibitors, and 14,000+ events — but that growth came at a cost, with multiple reports of first-time exhibitors being unable to reserve a booth for 2016 due to a lack of space in the exhibitor hall.
Why couldn't those exhibitors retain the same spaces they occupied at Gen Con 2015? Partly because Gen Con offers discounted space for first-timers in its "Entrepreneur's Alley", and since those exhibitors wouldn't be first-timers in 2016, they weren't eligible to be in "Entrepreneur's Alley". What's more, both those exhibitors and others who were exhibiting at Gen Con for only the first or second time had no seniority in Gen Con's booth-reservation system, which meant that they were shut out during the show when everyone else was reserving space for Gen Con 2016.
Now Gen Con has announced that for 2016 it will expand its events space into Lucas Oil Stadium, a multipurpose stadium on the block adjacent to the Indiana Convention Center where Gen Con takes place. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
As part of this expansion, Gen Con will move several large events into the stadium's exhibition space, including the wildly popular True Dungeon events.
"Expansion into Lucas Oil Stadium is another exciting step forward for Gen Con," said Adrian Swartout, Gen Con CEO/Owner. "Gen Con has grown to host nearly 200,000 turnstile attendees, and it is evident that we have to accelerate our growth plans to meet attendee, exhibitor, and event organizer demand. Expansion into Lucas Oil Stadium allows Gen Con to keep offering more gaming, exhibition, and entertainment options each year."
A large-scale, life-size gaming experience, True Dungeon creates an immersive environment where players can solve puzzles and battle giant monsters. Attendees will have easy access to True Dungeon events through a corridor that directly connects the Indiana Convention Center to Lucas Oil Stadium. True Dungeon's 2016 event will feature an expedition through lava caverns and a mission across an underground city. Attendees can learn more here.
A separate announcement on the True Dungeon website added this plus for its new location:
True Dungeon is moving to a state-of-the-art exhibit hall inside Lucas Oil Stadium where we can take advantage of a massive dividing wall to completely isolate the darker adventure area from the brighter lit (and more noisy) coaching area. The better control of light and sound "pollution" will greatly aid us in providing a better lit Coaching Room experience while keeping the adventure areas more dramatically lit.
Gen Con notes that in the coming months it will announce other events to be hosted in Lucas Oil Stadium. As for what will happen with the recovered space in the Convention Center, that will be revealed at a later date...