After two months of debates and working out possible solutions to host one of the biggest gaming expos, BlizzCon, Blizzard has decided to officially cancel the event. The company cited uncertainty because of COVID-19 as the reason why.
Blizzard to Officially Skip BlizzCon 2020
Blizzard has confirmed that it will cancel BlizzCon, the annual convention that reunites the company’s fans from around the world, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason behind the decision.
After a number of high-profile gaming expos and tournaments have been canceled, Blizzard is the latest to scale back its plans. Nevermind the lockdown, however, Blizzard has seen some pretty impressive figures, with sales headed for $7 billion in 2020.
The first sign that BlizzCon may not take place at all in 2020 came in April, when the company said that it was worried about the feasibility of hosting the festival given the United States’ newly-announced state of emergency and global air travel ban.
BlizzCon executive Saralyn Smith confirmed that the company had been following the situation, but Blizzard hadn’t seen reason to confidently push ahead with the event, especially after Valve and Epic Games canceled their biggest esports events for the year.
Blizzard also had to adjust its internal working process, sending employees to work from home and continue as planned with the release dates for Overwatch 2 and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.
Smith admitted that the company had held many discussions in the past two months and considered whether holding a convention would be feasible. Blizzard factored concerns such as health measures as well as the safety of all attending, and the company further considered whether it would be possible for attendees to show up in light of national health measures, most of which have introduced a two-week quarantine for returning citizens.
Will an Online Event Fill the Vacuum Left by BlizzCon?
Skipping BlizzCon is no doubt a significant blow to the company. However, Blizzard may be able to host something online instead. Explaining what may be coming next, Smith highlighted the company’s commitment to creating an experience that allows fans and Blizzard to connect. In light of this, Smith had this to add:
“We’re talking about how we might be able to channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect with you in some way online, far less impacted by the state of health and safety protocols for mass in-person gatherings.”
However, even with an online event potentially coming up, it wouldn’t happen until early 2021. Blizzard will first need to work out a format that can capture the spirit of the main event. A consolation event should be coming up, although Smith made no promises.
The last BlizzCon was held November 1-2, with tickets going on sale in May.