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A big gaming event shares its attendance numbers

Let’s check in on the Games Developer Conference that just concluded in San Francisco as a gauge for in-person events.

Organizers announced a 2022 attendance figure of 17,000, down 41% from the record 29,000 attendees at GDC 2019.   However, 5,000 of those attendees were just signed on for the virtual component of the show, so the actual convention center crowd was closer to 12,000, or down 59% compared to 2019.

For color and insight into the ground feel, the Washington Post gave some insight, highlighting both the promoted rules and the inconsistency on site.     

Why do we care?

It’s that “down 59%” I was most interested in.     Large-scale events are changing, and tracking this set of numbers is where I’m curious.    Events aren’t gone forever – nor would they be 100% instantly return.  So the question is, what percentage are they returning to, and where will they land ongoing?

I consider this data something of a proxy for other changes post-pandemic and a simple one to track, which is why I care about it.    Off about 60% is pretty striking.