robin_d_laws (robin_d_laws) wrote,

Are Gamers Recession-Proof?

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Gen Con 2010 posted record attendance figures, busting the 30,000 unique attendee barrier. I found this surprising—in a good way, of course—given the lingering recession that’s still pounding the US economy. From travel costs to hotels to the event itself, Gen Con isn’t cheap. Last year I expected to see a downturn in attendance. Instead the numbers were a little flat. Business on the show floor was brisk. This year we saw an uptick and what seemed like even stronger exhibit hall trade.

This chart, as seen in this Matt Yglesias post on the isolation of elites from the recession’s effects, helps tell the story. The jobless rate looks much different for college graduates than it does for others with less education under their belts.

It’s often said that hobby gaming is recession-proof because it’s a cheap form of entertainment, and entertainment typically does well in bad times. That’s true to an extent but doesn’t tell the full story. Gamers are a highly educated lot and skew to the bottom lines of the graph, where the jobless rate isn’t so crippling. They’re likelier to be employed than the folks higher up, and enjoy a greater sense of job security. Which gives them the money to keep spending on gaming stuff, including trips to Gen Con, and the confidence to do it.

Those of us who make a living from the hobby face various challenges. However, one sustaining advantage is the education buffer that keeps our customers afloat when the general population is sinking.

Tags: economics hut, gaming hut, gen con

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