San Diego Comic-Con 2020 was an experiment to see if a convention could be moved entirely online during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The result was... mixed. There were a few things that worked about it, but overall the event was kind of a mess. With DC FanDome and other digital-only conventions on the horizon, the io9 staff got together to discuss what other cons can learn from SDCC’s mistakes.
I was joined by my fellow io9 staffers—Jill Pantozzi, Cheryl Eddy, James Whitbrook, Charles Pulliam-Moore, and Germain Lussier—to talk about what didn’t work about SDCC 2020, from a lack of support for the artists and vendors who would usually be on the show floor, to the lack of fan involvement, to how to create a sense of energy that the convention’s swath of “family Zoom call” style pre-recorded panels were lacking. And, with big mainstays like Disney and Warner Bros. skipping out of the con (and even some attendees saving big news to release just after the con’s wrapped up), we also discussed what the organization will have to do in 2021 to prove that it’s still the place to be for the nerdiest news around every summer.
Check out the video above for our take on what digital cons need to do to make sure they keep fans (and panelists) happy during a very uncertain time. We’ve also written up our highlights and lowlights from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, which you can see here.
Fingers crossed for a vaccine and in-person cons in 2021!
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