For regular Gen Con attendees like me, the annual housing lottery is always a time of frustration. For years it was a winner-take-all system where everyone logged on at Noon and hoped for the best. Which usually devolved into Gen Con’s servers combusting into a giant fireball under the weight of the server requests. After enough complaints, Gen Con finally moved to a lottery system, where you were randomly assigned a time the day before. It’s not a perfect system, but it was better than what they had.
However, this is the first year I can recall that the Gen Con housing block not only sold out, but did so in the first 3 hours of rooms becoming available. The official Gen Con Twitter account posted this afternoon that their entire housing block was gone.
Due to unexpected turnout, the Gen Con 2022 attendee room block has sold out. Over the coming days and weeks we’ll be procuring supplemental inventory and making it available for booking on a first-come first served basis.
— Gen Con (@Gen_Con) February 13, 2022
It’s not clear whether they had less inventory than usual or just more demand than ever before. If you’ll recall, Gen Con 2020 was canceled due to Covid. And 2021 was a smaller convention as it appeared that people weren’t quite ready to get back to normal. Even days before the 2021 convention, you could still get downtown rooms, which is unheard of in normal years. Hopefully, Gen Con can secure more rooms for this year’s convention for people still wanting to attend.
They let people into the portal more quickly this year. The Gen Con Housing Portal uses a staggered system that only lets X people in per minute to prevent server issues, and the total length of that stagger was shortened significantly this year. In past years, it’s been 7, 9, even 11 hours long, but for 2022, it was only 3.5 hours long.
I don’t know whether it’s because they had more faith in their servers or they wanted everyone done before the Super Bowl, but that’s what happened.
Supply of rooms was likely down, but not by a huge amount. A few of the out-of-downtown hotels were left out of the housing portal this year.
Downtown rooms actually lasted a bit longer than usual, at least in terms of what percentage of the “housing window” had entered before downtown sold out.