Dear SUPER! BitCon Family,
It is with a heavy heart that we address this incredible community today. SUPER! BitCon, as a convention, will no longer continue on an annual basis. We have always been open with the community about how we operate – it’s part of our gamers-first philosophy, so we want to explain our difficult circumstance as openly as possible.
Foremost, everyone is aware of the tragedy that struck Oklahoma State Fair Park – including the destruction of some monuments and landmarks that had been there for decades. This storm affected us as well – dramatically impacting our ability to sell tickets and build up a convention war chest for the following year. S!BC has long been built on the belief that, as an organization, we should invest everything we’ve got into building the best celebration we can. This year was no exception. But unforeseen calamity crippled our ability to adhere to our growth plan. We are so thankful to all those who attended this year, and especially our amazing exhibitors who have been so very understanding of the position we have been put in (as well as that which impacted each of them that weekend). What funds we do have are not such that a convention event is possible, in part due to the storm damage, but also due to rising costs.
Changes with some of our usual partners will be resulting in higher operational costs for S!BC as well as for our attendees. This has a trickle-down effect, which makes it more expensive to host an event, meaning a portion of that expense must be either absorbed or passed on. Both would result in additional financial burden on our attendees, exhibitors, and/or sponsors. In some instances this could result in a doubling of some of our prices. Grassroots fan-run events like S!BC are not being actively incentivized or encouraged and are instead seeing higher and higher costs pricing us out of the market. Sadly, the equation does not lead to long-term sustainability for an organization that is not in the business of turning a profit, but rather focused purely on funding itself year-over-year.
Lastly, the organizers of S!BC have all experienced rapid life change over the years since we held our first event. So many moons ago, we sat around a coffee table in 2013 and dreamt of a video game swap meet in OKC. We never would have believed that it would become the astounding success it was – and perhaps we didn’t understand at the time how much the Oklahoma gamer community wanted an event like S!BC. We were so fortunate to be able to bring in some incredible guests over the years and share some beautiful moments and lasting memories with our gamer friends. Since that time, we’ve seen our staff ebb and flow, grow, evolve and change. New educational pursuits, new careers, new cities, and new babies have all happened over just a few short years. The rigors of planning an annual convention –a task which absorbs much of a six-month block of our year– have become too much. For much of the planning season for S!BC 2017, we wondered if this may be the last year we could do it. The storm and other circumstances cemented that for us.
So now you’re probably wondering what is next. While an annual convention blow-out celebration is no longer on our plates, we plan to continue focusing S!BC on the Oklahoma gamer community we love. Remember Bricktown GO? Over 4,000 gamers descended upon Bricktown in a single night to play one game together. Those are the types of events we want to organize going forward. And we have some fun stuff planned.
We also want to continue supporting Hotdogs for the Homeless. We have been so blessed and honored to be able to help fund their incredible work in the OKC community providing a consistent, reliable meal to the disadvantaged living downtown. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s ticket sales will be used to establish a fund that will provide ongoing support to this important nonprofit in the absence of the annual funds we are typically able to provide. We feel driven to ensure that HftH remains able to sustain the mission that the OKC gamer community has helped build.
Sometimes it is hard to give up something we love. The S!BC organizers have all gone through the various stages of grieving the loss of our annual event, but we are hopeful about the direction we can help drive the gaming community going forward.
We’re already planning several different events that will take place over the next year, as well as supporting awesome events like SoonerCon, Let’s Play Gaming Expo, Retropalooza, and XPO Game Festival. And, of course, the Oklahoma Retro Gamers Society will continue on as usual.
We have been incredibly fortunate over the past four years to be placed in the position we were in. And while change is inevitable, we find comfort in that – not sorrow. OKC is a bastion of community and innovation, and we’re certain S!BC will not be the last gaming convention in the area. We are looking forward to supporting that which comes after us.
Thank you to everyone in the gaming community for supporting us as strongly as you have, and please continue to follow S!BC online to stay tuned for what is to come next.
The SUPER! BitCon Team