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Aresef

To what extent could coronavirus impact the convention?

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I am not an epidemiologist and I don't know what the next few months bring. But coronavirus appears to be causing some long-term worries in Asia to the point that the Summer Olympics in Tokyo could be canned. We're also seeing companies like Sony scale back planned appearances at PAX East and AnimeJapan was scrapped. And then you have the entry procedures and policies for people coming to the US particularly from China and, without talking politics, that could easily be extended.

To what extent is Otakon preparing and to what extent could Otakon be impacted by hurdles, logistical or otherwise, created by the disease?

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Holy crap what a deep topic... I really hope Ota isn't cancelled but by then I think all this should be sorted out, or at least one would hope.

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While it's good to be aware of such things as "pandemics" etc, please remember that there are people working on this stuff around the clock (or at least I'd assume) and cons like our Otakon and ANYC are MONTHS upon MONTHS away... I'd hope and assume that the danger will have died down by then... This thread is honestly just fear mongering... @Aresef I know you mean well, but sadly that's what it's coming across as to at least some people I'm sure.

Edited by GasparAKAShiggitay

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As someone who works as a Medical Laboratory Scientist and has worked directly with blood samples being sent to the CDC for Coronavirus testing, I dont think its fear mongering, at all. I know we're having to process samples under a biohazard hood as well as taking extra precautions to prevent aerosols from potentially spreading/contaminating. A vaccine wont be available until the end of the year at the earliest and containment of the disease is gonna be reliant on all the world's governments doing what they're supposed to.

 

Personally, I dont think the issue is with the virus and its lethality. If you're healthy adult, most seem to be able to fight off the virus with no ill effects so far. The problem is that the virus is demonstrating to be easily transmittable and is able to survive outside the body for some time. This puts the young, elderly,  and immunocompromised at a high risk.

 

A decision on cancel public gatherings/cons is decision that obviously wont need to be made for a few months, like you said, but when cancelling Comiket and the Olympics are being talked about when those are months away, its definitely fair to discuss when Otakon will be happening during the same timeframe.

Edited by Hainiryuun
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I think part of the onus (there's your nickel word for the day) is on the attendee, with the focus on hygiene and health. The old Otakon handout had some of the following 'recommendations' (I don't remember full details, just the generalities.):

- Get a good night's sleep

- Eat at least one good meal a day

- Shower

I would add one that I've been guilty of: Go out for some fresh air. Last year on Saturday I went from around 8 AM to 6 PM without leaving the convention center and/or the hotel. (I got the Mariott, so I never had to leave.)

I also have been taking things like Cold Eeze, etc. the past few years to help boost my chances of not getting the Con Plague. I'd say it's worked well enough, as I haven't caught it in several years.

 

All told, we can only wait and see what Otakon does and go from there. I'll hold off getting my Amtrak tickets until I see something definite, however.

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If the COV-ID situation gets so bad that events that are 5 months out are still getting cancelled, then getting my fix of anime will be the least of my concerns.  Keep in mind that governments are taking extreme precautions now to get the situation under control quickly, especially in Japan where they very much need to be medically cleared ASAP for all that Olympics tourism revenue.

I think the biggest impact is the availability of overseas guests since any kind of negotiation is going to have to wait until the virus is under control.  We're definitely going to see an Dub Industry-centric Otakon this year.

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7 hours ago, DeathJester said:

If the COV-ID situation gets so bad that events that are 5 months out are still getting cancelled, then getting my fix of anime will be the least of my concerns.  Keep in mind that governments are taking extreme precautions now to get the situation under control quickly, especially in Japan where they very much need to be medically cleared ASAP for all that Olympics tourism revenue.

I think the biggest impact is the availability of overseas guests since any kind of negotiation is going to have to wait until the virus is under control.  We're definitely going to see an Dub Industry-centric Otakon this year.

To your point, logistics might be a hurdle. I know United just temporarily cut Japan service. Hopefully, this can all blow over in a matter of weeks and not months.

I'm not trying to spread hysteria. I think these are legitimate questions.

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2 hours ago, Clutch said:

Let's hope the only Pandemic you encounter is from Accept. 😀

 

Pish tosh, another acceptable form is from Zman Games:

zm7101_collection.png

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41 minutes ago, j-train1 said:

Yup. So many butthurt people on FaceBook when the announcement dropped.. Good lord.

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On 3/19/2020 at 7:40 PM, GasparAKAShiggitay said:

Yup. So many butthurt people on FaceBook when the announcement dropped.. Good lord.

Seems kinda odd, considering that people were disappointed but understanding when Anime Boston cancelled. Different crowd, I guess?

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Honestly I will be pleasantly surprised if Otakon actually happens this year. Even if the pandemic begins to subside by the summer, there is still a huge risk factor and a chance of a temporary resurgence of the illness as people begin to go back to their daily lives and interact with one another. For now I'm banking on Nekocon in November. 

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To your point, Liberty University could face lawsuits after students tested positive there, a development anybody could see coming when they announced they were reopening.

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AnimeNEXT, a mid-to-large size convention that takes place in Atlantic City in June, just cancelled. Otakon is now the next convention on my schedule. I've lost three... Zenkaikon, Sakura-Con, and AnimeNEXT. Honestly, I'm hoping for the best, but getting prepared for the worst. There's a strong chance that Otakon is likely to be cancelled, as sad as that sounds. I would be disappointed, but understanding and not surprised. While I hope it doesn't have to be, I know that the Board is doing their best to figure out their own next steps. I just hope that this wave of necessary cancellations doesn't decimate the convention world. Many of our fan-run anime conventions are run by non-profit organizations that operate with minimal margins, and skipping a year can sometimes be devastating for them. Fingers crossed that the community comes out of this okay.

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AnimeNEXT, a mid-to-large size convention that takes place in Atlantic City in June, just cancelled. Otakon is now the next convention on my schedule. I've lost three... Zenkaikon, Sakura-Con, and AnimeNEXT. Honestly, I'm hoping for the best, but getting prepared for the worst. There's a strong chance that Otakon is likely to be cancelled, as sad as that sounds. I would be disappointed, but understanding and not surprised. While I hope it doesn't have to be, I know that the Board is doing their best to figure out their own next steps. I just hope that this wave of necessary cancellations doesn't decimate the convention world. Many of our fan-run anime conventions are run by non-profit organizations that operate with minimal margins, and skipping a year can sometimes be devastating for them. Fingers crossed that the community comes out of this okay.

AB talked about that when they canceled. The reason they waited until the governor of Massachusetts issued his order on large events was because if they canceled before then, they’d be on the hook with the venue, vendors etc. and it could have bankrupted their organization.

And it’s not just the smaller cons. The most recent 990 I could find for Otakorp was filed for the FY ending October 2018. They reported nearly $408,000 in the bank. They pulled in $2.88 million in revenue... but spent $2.72 million to run Otakon and Otakon Vegas. They had actually lost more than $800,000 over the previous two fiscals—that’s presumably why Otakon Vegas had to go. And these aren’t state secrets. You can look Otakorp up on ProPublica’s database. The point is damn near every dime goes into running the con and if they canceled at a time that would leave them holding the bag, well, that’s just not going to happen.
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On 3/31/2020 at 12:00 AM, Aresef said:


AB talked about that when they canceled. The reason they waited until the governor of Massachusetts issued his order on large events was because if they canceled before then, they’d be on the hook with the venue, vendors etc. and it could have bankrupted their organization.

And it’s not just the smaller cons. The most recent 990 I could find for Otakorp was filed for the FY ending October 2018. They reported nearly $408,000 in the bank. They pulled in $2.88 million in revenue... but spent $2.72 million to run Otakon and Otakon Vegas. They had actually lost more than $800,000 over the previous two fiscals—that’s presumably why Otakon Vegas had to go. And these aren’t state secrets. You can look Otakorp up on ProPublica’s database. The point is damn near every dime goes into running the con and if they canceled at a time that would leave them holding the bag, well, that’s just not going to happen.

Otakon Vegas was a bad idea from day one.

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On 3/30/2020 at 2:17 PM, SailorGundam06 said:

AnimeNEXT, a mid-to-large size convention that takes place in Atlantic City in June, just cancelled. Otakon is now the next convention on my schedule. I've lost three... Zenkaikon, Sakura-Con, and AnimeNEXT. Honestly, I'm hoping for the best, but getting prepared for the worst. There's a strong chance that Otakon is likely to be cancelled, as sad as that sounds. I would be disappointed, but understanding and not surprised. While I hope it doesn't have to be, I know that the Board is doing their best to figure out their own next steps. I just hope that this wave of necessary cancellations doesn't decimate the convention world. Many of our fan-run anime conventions are run by non-profit organizations that operate with minimal margins, and skipping a year can sometimes be devastating for them. Fingers crossed that the community comes out of this okay.

I feel you! Zenkaikon and AnimeNext were my next ones as well and I'm bummed they couldn't take place but completely understand its because they want to keep us safe. 


I'm prepared either way for whether or not Otakon happens. We just got to follow things day by day and stay positive, while taking care of ourselves and staying safe. 

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SDCCI just cancelled and that was suppose to be in late JULY. There goes the west coast summer con season. 

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I would be completely shocked if this happened in 2020. The year is pretty much going to end up written off for major events like conventions (and most sports, concerts, etc). 

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The chances of this con happening this year are slim to none 

And even if the con did somehow happen it would still be completely unsafe to go with that many ppl in a confined space. 

 

Unfortunately it looks like fun is out for 2020. 

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Well I said if events were still getting cancelled 5 months after the initial outbreak then going to an anime convention would be the least of everyone concerns.

WEWCC is going to be a field hospital for COVID patients, so this will give Otakon an exit lane to cancel the event without being fully responsible for the bills.
https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/dc-convention-center-to-house-500-hospital-beds-for-possible-coronavirus-surge/2277113/

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Even if things start to clear up, Otakon is a poster child for a coronavirus "resurgence." 30k people all packed into a confined area right as a pandemic is winding down, I can't imagine DC allowing such an event to take place. Looks like the rescheduled Miku Expo is the next thing to look forward to.  It's sad. It's like 2020 never happened. Wasted spring, wasted summer. 

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14 minutes ago, KyoKyo said:

Even if things start to clear up, Otakon is a poster child for a coronavirus "resurgence." 30k people all packed into a confined area right as a pandemic is winding down, I can't imagine DC allowing such an event to take place. Looks like the rescheduled Miku Expo is the next thing to look forward to.  It's sad. It's like 2020 never happened. Wasted spring, wasted summer. 

All valid points..  For me I have Miku Expo on September 17th up here in Boston, but in November I want to attend AnimeNYC in the fall, of which when I hope it's totally cleared up. I guess we'll have to see what Otakorp decides... 

Edited by GasparAKAShiggitay

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13 hours ago, KyoKyo said:

Even if things start to clear up, Otakon is a poster child for a coronavirus "resurgence." 30k people all packed into a confined area right as a pandemic is winding down, I can't imagine DC allowing such an event to take place. Looks like the rescheduled Miku Expo is the next thing to look forward to.  It's sad. It's like 2020 never happened. Wasted spring, wasted summer. 

Agreed. I'm immune compromised and would find it hard to commit to going even if it does happen due to fears of this...

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23 hours ago, GasparAKAShiggitay said:

All valid points..  For me I have Miku Expo on September 17th up here in Boston, but in November I want to attend AnimeNYC in the fall, of which when I hope it's totally cleared up. I guess we'll have to see what Otakorp decides... 

If news reports are accurate, there are two major strains - one in europe & 1 in asia. The US has both at the same time. So, 1) a vaccine will likely only cover 1 strain making groups of people still suceptible to the other 2) expectations on leisure international travel should be nil for 1-2 years minimum after something like this with an expectation of a decade recovery for tourism 3) i enjoy conventions as many of us do - I do not expect them to be licensed for at least a year & even then, expect them to be capped significantly by size & with significant mandatory medical regulations in place. Of all the groups afraid of lawsuits, private entities are the largest. Can you imagine just the insurance changes that will be required?

The world has been changed by this & it will remain changed unfortunately. Just need to see what becomes the new normal from here. I fear for anime as an industry, watching Hollywood crumble around us as it is.

Edited by kalyoth
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On 4/18/2020 at 5:27 PM, DeathJester said:

Well I said if events were still getting cancelled 5 months after the initial outbreak then going to an anime convention would be the least of everyone concerns.

WEWCC is going to be a field hospital for COVID patients, so this will give Otakon an exit lane to cancel the event without being fully responsible for the bills.
https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/dc-convention-center-to-house-500-hospital-beds-for-possible-coronavirus-surge/2277113/

They can't back out until either Events DC or the DC government makes holding the convention impossible. Unlikely as it is, it's conceivable that come time for Otakon, the WEWCC could be ready. I'm not saying it's likely, I'm saying that it can't be ruled out until it is ruled out.

What that means is if they cancel now, force majeure provisions will not apply. Though they can't and won't issue refunds to members (given the nature of what our memberships are), the nonprofit will be on the hook for boatloads to Events DC, hotels and other vendors and without the revenue of people who haven't yet registered or of dealers, artists, merchandise or sponsors. And as I've outlined, Otakorp is not rich.

Edited by Aresef
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2 minutes ago, Aresef said:

They can't back out until either Events DC or the DC government makes holding the convention impossible. Unlikely as it is, it's conceivable that come time for Otakon, the WEWCC could be ready. I'm not saying it's likely, I'm saying that it can't be ruled out until it is ruled out.

What that means f they cancel now, force majeure provisions will not apply. Though they can't and won't issue refunds to members (given the nature of what our memberships are), the nonprofit will be on the hook for boatloads to Events DC, hotels and other vendors and without the revenue of people who haven't yet registered or of dealers, artists, merchandise or sponsors. And as I've outlined, Otakorp is not rich.

That's the problem with contracts - until someone else changes the conditions on the ground, you are still bound, no matter the situation. We have to wait on how DC rolls the viability of the venue before otacorp will make a statement.

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On 4/20/2020 at 11:16 AM, Aresef said:

They can't back out until either Events DC or the DC government makes holding the convention impossible. Unlikely as it is, it's conceivable that come time for Otakon, the WEWCC could be ready. I'm not saying it's likely, I'm saying that it can't be ruled out until it is ruled out.

Of course, no one has a crystal ball into the future and governments are prone to make stupid decisions but if the field hospital is expected to be completed at the end of May (~1 month construction) then I have extreme doubts that it will only be used only through June and then converted back into a usable convention space by the end of July.

Here are what I think the possible outcomes are given the current situation:

1) Convention gets cancelled due to the WEWCC being unavailable and COVID uncertainty.

2) Convention gets postponed to later in the year due to the WEWCC being unavailable.  Obviously attendance will take a huge hit, but Otakon would need to operate at a reduced capacity anyway to maintain social distance and sanitary guidelines.

3) Convention gets moved to a different venue due to the WEWCC being unavailable.  Or possibly split between different venues and becomes more of an oudoor Otakon Matsui rather than an enclosed event.

4) Convention goes on the scheduled date at the WEWCC.  This means DC spent millions of dollars to quickly create a field hospital, then will spend millions more to tear it down to attract whatever tourism dollars people are willing to spend immediately after this pandemic.

[edit] 5) This started as a joke but bouncing it back and forth actually got some people interested.  Otakon becomes an all-digital event where the content is streamed out to members.  In the age of Zoom classrooms, twitter #watchparties, IG Live DJ battles, and even concert venues recreated in Minecraft, this is something that can actually be done well.  It would also be a clusterfuck, but it would be a memorable one.

Edited by DeathJester
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5 hours ago, DeathJester said:

Of course, no one has a crystal ball into the future and governments are prone to make stupid decisions but if the field hospital is expected to be completed at the end of May (~1 month construction) then I have extreme doubts that it will only be used only through June and then converted back into a usable convention space by the end of July.

Here are what I think the possible outcomes are given the current situation:

1) Convention gets cancelled due to the WEWCC being unavailable and COVID uncertainty.

2) Convention gets postponed to later in the year due to the WEWCC being unavailable.  Obviously attendance will take a huge hit, but Otakon would need to operate at a reduced capacity anyway to maintain social distance and sanitary guidelines.

3) Convention gets moved to a different venue due to the WEWCC being unavailable.  Or possibly split between different venues and becomes more of an outdoor Otakon Matsui rather than an enclosed event.

4) Convention goes on the scheduled date at the WEWCC.  This means DC spent millions of dollars to quickly create a field hospital, then will spend millions more to tear it down to attract whatever tourism dollars people are willing to spend immediately after this pandemic.

[edit] 5) This started as a joke but bouncing it back and forth actually got some people interested.  Otakon becomes an all-digital event where the content is streamed out to members.  In the age of Zoom classrooms, twitter #watchparties, IG Live DJ battles, and even concert venues recreated in Minecraft, this is something that can actually be done well.  It would also be a clusterfuck, but it would be a memorable one.

Re: #5: conceptually it's cool and it could work, but it's just not the same to have a "virtual" con. I love cons so much as I do because it's cool to congregate with people of similar interests and just hang out. Anime Boston goers proposed the same idea for AB when/as it was canned, but I was too depressed that weekend to event try it.

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In my opinion, the more realistic approaches at the moment would be either 1, 2, or (in some extent) 5.

If the WEWCC is going to be used a field hospital, then there's an uncertainty that it will be sanitized and returned to normal by late July. Personally, it would be great to push Otakon back later in the year a la Awesome Con (which I'm, happy will be postponed to December), as my experience riding the Metro to and back to some classes this winter has gotten me comfortable enough to use it for events on the Green Line). However, there's a number of factors that can affect that. Among them:

  • The dates that the WEWCC will be available;
  • Not wanting Otakon to compete against Anime USA;
  • Halloween weekend being out of the question due to AWA;
  • The planned Olympics theme for this year (which will not work, as the games have now been postponed to next year).

As for the "virtual con" idea, that's going to be a challenge. However, I can think of at least two events that could utilize it.

  1. The industry panels (in particular, Discotek, as they've been having some interesting announcements in the past few Otakons)
  2. The AMV Contest, as I've seen the contests for Anime Detour and Momocon take this route when the cons were cancelled.

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12 hours ago, TnAdct1 said:

As for the "virtual con" idea, that's going to be a challenge. However, I can think of at least two events that could utilize it.

  1. The industry panels (in particular, Discotek, as they've been having some interesting announcements in the past few Otakons)
  2. The AMV Contest, as I've seen the contests for Anime Detour and Momocon take this route when the cons were cancelled.

The Spring conventions really got the short end of the stick since they were too deep into regular planning to make any kind of effort to salvage their work.  Otakon is still 3 months away so if they switch gears now they can have a more robust virtual event beyond just opening up a "wish you were here" discord channel.  The main things you would have to lose beyond the attendee driven stuff (photo groups, parties, being around humans) is the dealers room / artist alley and the physical hangout spots like the Maid Cafe, Lolita Garden, Photo Suite, Manga Library, etc.

Again I am going to stress that a virtual Otakon would be a giant technological mess- but in theory you could do an Autograph session that is just a minute or two of video chat with the guests if you put a good moderation system to keep out the trolls.  Same for the Masquarade, queue up the contestants via webcam to do their thing on a moderated video stream or have the whole thing pre-recorded like an AMV contest entry.

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13 hours ago, TnAdct1 said:

As for the "virtual con" idea, that's going to be a challenge. However, I can think of at least two events that could utilize it.

  1. The industry panels (in particular, Discotek, as they've been having some interesting announcements in the past few Otakons)
  2. The AMV Contest, as I've seen the contests for Anime Detour and Momocon take this route when the cons were cancelled.

 

I'm skeptical that there could be a virtual AMV Contest.  Very early on, when Anime Boston was new, they used to pipe the AMV Contest over a hotel TV channel so that people could watch it in their hotel rooms.  When they stopped doing that, the explanation was that they got heat for "broadcasting" copyrighted material.

 

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18 hours ago, TnAdct1 said:

In my opinion, the more realistic approaches at the moment would be either 1, 2, or (in some extent) 5.

If the WEWCC is going to be used a field hospital, then there's an uncertainty that it will be sanitized and returned to normal by late July. Personally, it would be great to push Otakon back later in the year a la Awesome Con (which I'm, happy will be postponed to December), as my experience riding the Metro to and back to some classes this winter has gotten me comfortable enough to use it for events on the Green Line). However, there's a number of factors that can affect that. Among them:

  • The dates that the WEWCC will be available;
  • Not wanting Otakon to compete against Anime USA;
  • Halloween weekend being out of the question due to AWA;
  • The planned Olympics theme for this year (which will not work, as the games have now been postponed to next year).

As for the "virtual con" idea, that's going to be a challenge. However, I can think of at least two events that could utilize it.

  1. The industry panels (in particular, Discotek, as they've been having some interesting announcements in the past few Otakons)
  2. The AMV Contest, as I've seen the contests for Anime Detour and Momocon take this route when the cons were cancelled.

I think postponing the con is going to be difficult. Just because Awesome Con was able to postpone doesn't mean Ota can. Ota depends on conference rooms and lodging not just in the Marriott but in other hotels as well. You also have to pick a weekend when you know the nearby hotels have sufficient inventory. So if it's a weekend where Capital One Arena is in action, it might be a coinflip. There's also no guarantee that the guests, contractors, artists and dealers who are tied to the con now would be available for the new date, to say nothing of the fans whose travel plans may be less portable. And even if fans coming from far away can change their travel plans with little hassle, will most people in the fall, even if we've mostly kicked this thing, be comfortable with the health risk that may be posed by the mass of humanity that attends an anime convention? Even without a pandemic, that's an ask.

Postponing Otakon 2020 also takes away, I imagine, from the time and energy that could be better spent planning for 2021.

The virtual con plan is a challenge and invariably scales back programming offerings. You have to depend on all these industry folk playing ball. I imagine it would create a particular hurdle for Japanese guests and industry reps, not just because of the language barrier but the time difference. Fan panels could get off, that's the sort of thing I think Balticon is doing, but it would be a feat to make sure panelists can show their videos, their PowerPoints, whatever.

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19 hours ago, TnAdct1 said:
  • Not wanting Otakon to compete against Anime USA;

No competition there. I've been going to that con for many years and its been going downhill. Didn't go last year because the experience was so bad in 2018.

Anyways, I'm not optimistic about rescheduling for later in the year. There's very real concern of a second wave or coronavirus resurgence in the fall (Dr Fauci just made a statement on this), especially if it comes to overlap with flu season.

Edited by windseeker

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1 hour ago, Aresef said:

I think postponing the con is going to be difficult. Just because Awesome Con was able to postpone doesn't mean Ota can. Ota depends on conference rooms and lodging not just in the Marriott but in other hotels as well. You also have to pick a weekend when you know the nearby hotels have sufficient inventory. So if it's a weekend where Capital One Arena is in action, it might be a coinflip. There's also no guarantee that the guests, contractors, artists and dealers who are tied to the con now would be available for the new date, to say nothing of the fans whose travel plans may be less portable. And even if fans coming from far away can change their travel plans with little hassle, will most people in the fall, even if we've mostly kicked this thing, be comfortable with the health risk that may be posed by the mass of humanity that attends an anime convention? Even without a pandemic, that's an ask.

Postponing Otakon 2020 also takes away, I imagine, from the time and energy that could be better spent planning for 2021.

The virtual con plan is a challenge and invariably scales back programming offerings. You have to depend on all these industry folk playing ball. I imagine it would create a particular hurdle for Japanese guests and industry reps, not just because of the language barrier but the time difference. Fan panels could get off, that's the sort of thing I think Balticon is doing, but it would be a feat to make sure panelists can show their videos, their PowerPoints, whatever.

Aresef hits the nail on the head here. Different conventions/conferences have different budgets/needs to run their events. AwesomeCon might be able to come up with "replacement" vendors etc where as Otakon may not. I'd also like to echo the points surrounding hotel availability, and peoples' travel plans. Where ever I've worked so far I was able to get time off for the 4-5 days that I need for cons, including travel, so I've been lucky, but other companies might not be able to do that, especially if the employee asks for the same amount of days off TWICE, even if it's months apart. Lastly, I'd also like echo the postpone planning aspect. Anime Central, when laying out their statement for what their options besides cancellation were said that sure they could have rescheduled ACen for November or December, but even if they could pull that off it'd make it super stressful and near impossible to plan properly for ACen 2021. Totally irresponsible to even attempt, so them just full on cancelling (with also their main hotel partner the Hyatt Regency O'Hare opting out) was the right thing to so, breaking many a heart that had wanted to attend. Anime Boston did the same thing, and I was depressed as all hell that weekend, because it's home con and it's my cheapest one as well.

Anyway, with all that said, if Otakon can't happen this year as scheduled due to COVID-19 (or whatever other reason) I think we should just leave it at that. I understand many of us have attended for many years, some in the double digits like myself, but I think our health is better and more important that our geeky/nerdy urges to be in heaven for a weekend, as much as it pains me to say it.

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  • I agree that this virus will whip around in some form again as the weather gets cooler.
  • With respect to a virtual convention, it would seem like a complete waste for me. I don't want to sit there for 8+ hours staring at my 13 inch laptop screen with headphones, and the choices of content would be much more limited. Personally, I watch the new sub-titled anime at Otakon. The licensing contracts for broadcasting things would be a legal nightmare. Alabaster has mentioned before that level of licensing is one of the reasons they can't simulcast content at the convention.
  • Can you imagine the Dealer's Hall, and its associated line, in a COVID-19 world? The chances that the convention would still be held don't seem very high. If it was postponed to later in the year all of us would have to fight for hotel spaces again.
  • The animation and computer simulation industries are the only ones that can continue to produce content right now. Voice actors can still do their jobs with the right equipment. Movie and Television production has shut down, so the Fall TV season will be bleak.
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IMO it'd be better to just cancel for this year and put everything into 2021. This would work out better with the theme since the Olympics will be next year. Of course I know that the folks running Otakon have to wait on official decisions from DC, the WEWCC, etc, but hopefully they've already got a solid plan for what seems like the inevitable. Also, assuming it's canceled this year, I hope we get the option to have our registration roll over for next year instead of just getting a refund (and maybe our hotel reservation as well,  if that's possible). And maybe they could try a small virtual con for one day later this year, giving a bit more time to get everything worked out for such a thing. As for my group, we've already decided to skip this year in the event that Otakon somehow does occur considering the risk. 

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10 hours ago, shadowspawn said:

I'm skeptical that there could be a virtual AMV Contest.  Very early on, when Anime Boston was new, they used to pipe the AMV Contest over a hotel TV channel so that people could watch it in their hotel rooms.  When they stopped doing that, the explanation was that they got heat for "broadcasting" copyrighted material.

For a few years now, the AMV programming at Youmacon has its own Twitch channel, with me tuning in on Saturdays to watch the results of the AMV contest (especially since I had at least one video in that contest that year since 2016).

I wouldn't be suggesting this if I didn't think the idea is going to work.

4 hours ago, windseeker said:

No competition there. I've been going to that con for many years and its been going downhill. Didn't go last year because the experience was so bad in 2018.

Yeah, Anime USA can go either direction each year, with this past year being weak in some areas due to it happening the same weekend as Nekocon, Youmacon, and AWA. However, I still feel the people running it are still trying their best to run it even if it's a "small con" compared to the other conventions that are held in the DC area. Heck, after a successful first panel last, I am interested in doing another AMV panel at Anime USA this year (this time focusing on the 25th anniversary of Neon Genesis Evangelion).

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I think that this will be a NO-CON year. Better to be safe than sorry. Some people can carry the virus without being sick & showing no symptoms. Plus the virus may return more potent in the fall & winter.

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I think that this will be a NO-CON year. Better to be safe than sorry. Some people can carry the virus without being sick & showing no symptoms. Plus the virus may return more potent in the fall & winter.

“Return” implies it will go away in the summer. That would be news to Aussies.

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14 hours ago, TnAdct1 said:

the people running it are still trying their best to run it even if it's a "small con" compared to the other conventions that are held in the DC area. Heck, after a successful first panel last, I am interested in doing another AMV panel at Anime USA this year (this time focusing on the 25th anniversary of Neon Genesis Evangelion).

I don't care that its a small con, I actually enjoyed that part of it in a lot of ways (lack of lines, lol). But actually a big part of my bad experience last time was in part due to being a first time panelist there, where some people in charge tried to blame me for something that went wrong on their end and not mine. So that plus the decline in programming made me decide to end my attendance streak. Good luck with your panel though!

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19 hours ago, TomDent said:

Also, assuming it's canceled this year, I hope we get the option to have our registration roll over for next year instead of just getting a refund (and maybe our hotel reservation as well,  if that's possible).

Remember that Otakon hotels have not pulled any deposits yet and full refund cancellations are allowed up to 72 hours before check in.  There is zero chance that any hotel would be willing to automatically roll over room reservations to next year.

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20 hours ago, TomDent said:

IMO it'd be better to just cancel for this year and put everything into 2021. This would work out better with the theme since the Olympics will be next year. Of course I know that the folks running Otakon have to wait on official decisions from DC, the WEWCC, etc, but hopefully they've already got a solid plan for what seems like the inevitable. Also, assuming it's canceled this year, I hope we get the option to have our registration roll over for next year instead of just getting a refund (and maybe our hotel reservation as well,  if that's possible). And maybe they could try a small virtual con for one day later this year, giving a bit more time to get everything worked out for such a thing. As for my group, we've already decided to skip this year in the event that Otakon somehow does occur considering the risk. 

--not staff--

Given how Otakon works, I'm not sure if that's something they can do. Because what we pay for isn't a ticket but a membership and Otakon is the annual meeting for members of Otakorp. It's possible they throw members a bone of some kind should insurance kick in, but I'm not privy to any of that.

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Well, even the ICP is canceling due to COVID - the annual Gathering of the Juggalos got canceled until 2021. Don't think Otakon has much of a chance.

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AND OPTION NUMBER 1 IS OUR WINNER.

Hope everything behind the scenes are good given that the cancellation was forced upon by the venue.  I guess we'll see when the 2020 financials get released what the impact from skipping this year is.

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Yep. Like I said in the announcement thread, consider giving some of your con savings to charity. All the money you spend on food at the con could buy a local food bank quite the bounty.

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