To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Blizzard Entertainment canceled the in-person BlizzCon 2021 event back in May due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It was replaced with an online global event due to take place at the start of 2022. Now the company has made the “tough decision” to cancel the BlizzConline 2022 event too, citing the energy needed to put on the show would be better focused towards the development teams and their games.
Despite the lack of an event, Blizzard still plans to make announcements and give updates on their current games and upcoming titles. These announcements will now be made through the games’ official channels rather than at the show. Blizzard also stated it would be using the time to “reimagine” BlizzCon events for the future so that it is “as safe, welcoming, and inclusive as possible.” You can get an idea for what they mean in their statement:
We’ve decided to take a step back and pause on planning the previously announced BlizzConline event scheduled for early next year. This was a tough decision for all of us to make, but it’s the right one.
Any BlizzCon event takes every single one of us to make happen, an entire-company effort, fueled by our desire to share what we create with the community we care about so much. At this time, we feel the energy it would take to put on a show like this is best directed towards supporting our teams and progressing development of our games and experiences.
Additionally, we would also like to take the time to reimagine what a BlizzCon event of the future could look like. The first BlizzCon was held 16 years ago, and so much has changed in the time since—most notably, the multiple ways in which players and communities can come together and feel like they are a part of something bigger. Whatever the event looks like in the future, we also need to ensure that it feels as safe, welcoming, and inclusive as possible. We’re committed to continual communication with our players, and we see BlizzCon playing a big role in that going forward. We’re excited about what we’ll do with the event when we revisit it in the future.
One more thing we wanted to make clear: even though we aren’t holding BlizzConline in February, we’ll still be making announcements and updates for our games. We’re proud of our teams and the progress they’ve made across our games. We have a lot of exciting upcoming news and releases to share with you. You’ll continue hearing about those through our franchise channels, with the talented people on the BlizzCon team playing a part in supporting these efforts.
We’ll miss seeing you, but don’t worry. We’ll be back together soon.
Of course, the decision to cancel the event likely has absolutely nothing to do with the controversy currently surrounding Activision Blizzard (read: probably has a lot to do with it). Following months of allegations following years of investigations, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued subpoenas for several company executives, including Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick, the answer questions about how the company has handled allegations surrounding a discriminatory work place culture and sexual misconduct. This was after the company was accused of destroying evidence related to the investigation. Activision has attempted to postpone the lawsuit but was unsuccessful. In the meantime, 20 employees were fired and a similar number were reprimanded in response to the toxic work culture allegations, but it seems like there’s still a long way to go.
While Blizzard didn’t come right out and say it, it seems that a lot of the decision to cancel the event was made in light of the allegations and investigations as the company seeks to redefine itself in multiple ways, some of which include renaming characters in games to avoid their association with known abusers.[Source: Blizzard]