Just in case you read this blog more than you pay attention to the Gen Con Oz sites (including facebook and twitter), you would have missed the announcement that Gen Con Oz 2010 has been cancelled. Read the announcement here.
This is a sad announcement, but one laden with the realities of commercial considerations. A convention needs to break even or make money, otherwise it won't be back. And for gaming, this is a real concern. I heard Fred Hicks remark that indie game publishing is "how to make dozens of dollars the hard way" and he's right. Gaming is not mainstream in Australia, so it doesn't attract cash like other activities. Console gaming is big, but Gen Con isn't only about that. Pen and paper games are even less popular, and indie games? Well now.
But is that the end of gaming conventions in Australia? Not by a long shot. Even though most tabletop gaming in Australia is Warhammer and other miniatures gaming, just having Gen Con around was a shot in the arm for roleplaying. It introduced me to other indie gamers in Australia; people I consider friends, and people who continue to write and play new and innovative games.
I, for one, will continue to run Go Play Brisbane events in the medium term future, as well as continue to be involved in the Stockade project. And I'm looking forward to seeing Gen Con Oz return sometime soon (2011 would be nice!). Our hobby needs conventions if it is to continue as a viable commercial endeavour, or even as a social endeavour. We need to continue to meet together, to cross-pollenate our ideas between gaming groups so that we can fend off stagnation. This has created a void in the 2010 gaming calendar, but I feel confident that there will be other opportunities arise.
Watch this space.