I stood in the line a few times and it was never that bad. The longest I had to wait was maybe 15 min. I did really like that they had some organization for the line with the guy holding up the big "End of Line" sign, was better then the lines I see at PAX.
I know FFG will give their tag line about safety
That is because it is true. There are safety issues when you get a ton of people in one small space. Not even considering fire code issues. Frankly, I'm glad they limited the number of people in the booth because that meant I had room to look around instead of having to shove myself between people.
My roommate stood in line twice - the first time he gave up after 20 minutes, and the second time (Sunday) it only took him 20-25 minutes to get in (only to find out that what he wanted wasn't there). Having a line just to browse your booth is a BAD retail decision - I wonder what the sales consequences were. THAT said, they do accentuate demo space over retail space. While other companies bank on good retail success at the con, I am sure FFG views GenCon more as advertisement and product placement. No doubt FFG sales would make other con companies jealous (aside from Wizkids), but they are so deep in the wholesale stream that the retail side of GenCon is simply not that important.
They always had an "end-of-line" sign for their lines, but usually it was their PURCHASE line and not the line just to browse the booth. Last year, 30 minutes after the dealer's hall opened on Thursday (the first day), the line to buy product was already an hour-and-a-half long! Thanks to Netrunner and X-Wing....
Booth safety and "fire code" concerns are non-issues, after having been to 20+ GenCons and having worked the retail floor. The browser line was simply a mechanism to try to control booth crowding and to CONTROL THEFT. The booth crowding issue is entirely the fault of FFG - they have made the choice to have HUGE demo space in the dealer's hall and to limit the amount of retail space. That is foolishness on both their part and on the part of the con. The FFG footprint in the hall is by FAR the largest of any dealer, yet their retail space is modest when compared to other middle-to-large companies. In a perfect world, FFG would have a larger retail footprint and move most of their demos to other parts of the convention site. However, this will never happen - FFG pays a HUGE premium for space in the hall, and frankly they can do with it whatever they want.
Their retail space was simply inadequate for their product lines and size, and they encacted a line system to control shoppers and theft. Feedback on the FFG booth on other gaming forums is pretty derogatory, and I am sure people voted with their wallet. And I am sure that the results of that were pretty minor with FFG sales.