Yes, it's true. Our balls are huge, and we've decided to move up to the warm weather big leagues. This isn't a change made lightly, we know it's difficult to comprehend after 10 years of TempleCon. But it's a change we've planned to make for a while now.
In 2012, with attendance growing and area parking becoming increasingly difficult due to mountains of snow and ice everywhere, we began seriously discussing the move to con season, and the near-miss storms of 2014 and 2015 were the final impetus to make the jump as soon as we could. It's one thing to have a catastrophic storm hit a 500 person event, but with 5000 or more people, it's a huge concern. We don't like having to contend with myriad guest and vendor cancellations due to poor weather, and we know that convention-goers don't either!
We're extremely excited about this opportunity to bring TempleCon into a brand new decade with a much warmer date, and you should be too! As we are all about sharing our decision making processes on big stuff like this with the world, here are some reasons why TempleCon is now cruising into the summer sun in year 11. We know it's a huge change, and we're still getting used to it ourselves! Keep in mind, though, it's a change for the better, and the only way TempleCon will keep charging along for another decade to come! We promise that what we have in store will be worth the shock of a whole new era of TempleCon.
The irony of having our event in the darkest depths of winter at a venue known nationwide as a destination for outdoor events was not lost on us. The Crown Plaza occupies a large, and beautiful, parcel of land that is often used for all sorts of outdoor shows, and as our space gets tighter inside, the addition of the luxurious Garden Pavilion and other nice weather function spaces remedy this problem. Since the Atrium is designed to be the gateway to all of these outdoor shenanigans, this also allows the weight of the convention to shift closer to the center of the Crowne Plaza, rather than distributed to one side.
The other problem involving space is even more of an issue. In 2015, TempleCon began moving north of four thousand total attendees. We're looking at the real possibility of outgrowing a large and wonderful venue, which would mean our only option besides capping growth would be to reconfigure TempleCon for a Convention Center, or possibly leave New England entirely, which dramatically changes the event in many distinct ways. This solution gives us not only the ability to continue growing as the major international convention we want TempleCon to be, while at the same time keeping TempleCon something recognizable for people that have been coming since year 1.
This should be obvious, but it's a bigger deal that one would expect. A lot of of New Englanders are used to this crap. However, as TempleCon has gotten larger, it is worth noting that the majority of the folks traveling to Rhode Island for TempleCon aren't quite as prepared to deal with the annual New England winter. Why? Well, it's because they just aren't from here, and you can't blame them. When leaving the venue to snag some late night food requires preparation akin to that of an arctic expedition, it puts a damper on the convention experience. Add to this vendor and exhibitor anxiety about huge snowstorms, load-in and load-out in 10-degree weather, and travel and flight issues galore, the decision has sort of been made for us.
You may not know this, but there is actually quite a bit to do in Rhode Island when avoiding Yeti attacks is not a concern. There are Rhode Island beaches literally minutes away from the convention, and there is a ton to do and see in Providence that is a lot more accessible in the summer months. A lot of people take vacations for TempleCon, and we love the fact that now the trip can actually be a full-featured vacation for many. There's something cool about being able to ditch the crowd for a few hours, grab some food, and enjoy everything Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts has to offer. This was impossible in the dead of winter.
A February convention being outside of the normal convention season has its benefits, as it appears to fill a gap in coverage pretty well (even when it doesn't, as a number of shows still conflicted with TempleCon in February!). However, for a lot of developers and exhibitors, February also falls uncomfortably into development cycles as they prepare to have products ready for release or display at PAX East and Prime, and of course, GenCon. Some of the potential exhibitors who have previously been unable to make a winter TempleCon can now realistically fit a late August event into their schedule. Even more importantly, TempleCon's chill atmosphere serves as a great industry cool-down event, hitting a number of people who they otherwise wouldn't with their releases, which is how we envisioned it years ago. We might even be able to get some video gaming developers and panelists in this new slot, which was previously extremely difficult.