By TJ Acena, PQ Monthly
Bad news fellow nerds, Polygon reports that the organizers of GaymerX2 say this may be the last annual convention:
“We decided that we could no longer continue as a convention as the price of running a yearly convention downtown in San Francisco was just too high—we weren’t able to get the corporate sponsorship that we needed to make it something sustainable, and we were racking up huge amounts of debt to put this years con on,” organizer Matt Conn told Polygon. “That being said, we’re going to make the very best convention we can and we’re super eager to see a rise in more alt-cons in the future, making gaming accessible to everyone.”
You may remember I profiled the organizers of GaymerX in one of my first blogs for PQ when they started working on a queer point-and-click 90’s inspired video game (I am very excited to get my copy).
Last year over 2,300 people attended GaymerX and this year’s convention hopes to be bigger. Last month the organizers raised $24,000 for the convention through Kickstarter, over twice as much as their original goal. But the cost of putting on a three-day convention of that size in San Francisco requires more money than a successful Kickstarter and ticket sales can muster. Events like Comic-con are massive because a massive amount of companies sponsor them. And while they did have a few major gaming companies support them (like Bioware and Cards Against Humanity) but we don’t see the same kind of company support for something like Comic-con. The video game industry continues to focus on what they seem to think is their main demographic, straight white young men yet studies show that gamers do not fit that mold.
Now technically all gaming conventions are open to everyone, but they tend to cater heavily towards that young straight male demographic and these environments haven’t been super inclusive of the LGBTQ community (or women). And for that matter, neither are online gaming communities where gay slurs (and misogyny) are common. The point of events like GaymerX2 is not about making a place for the LGBTQ people can have their own separate spaces, but about creating inclusive spaces for all kinds of people to feel comfortable in and discussing what inclusion means for the video game industry. Indeed last year Bioware hosted a panel called “Why We Think It Is Important to Create More LGBT-Inclusive Games.”
For a great summation of why representation in gaming is important watch this video by Jamin Warren of the PBS Game/Show:
Hopefully GaymerX continues in some form, at the very least it’s showing the gaming industry that there is a multitude of people who game and want to see themselves represented in the media they consume.
If you’re interested you can still get tickets here. It’s in July so you have time.