June 15, 2024

One 12 months after it got here again, Blizzcon, Blizzard’s once-annual devoted occasion, isn’t returning for 2024. Whereas the Overwatch and Warcraft developer plans to indicate off extra of its video games at totally different occasions all year long, Blizzcon has been a middle level for the studio’s neighborhood because it started in 2005. Blizzcon has taken just a few years off right here and there (together with a three-year stretch from 2020 to 2022), however the 2024 cancelation comes at such a troubling time for the corporate that it does advantage analyzing. It may be learn as a reasonably regular incidence contemplating what Blizzard’s deliberate launch schedule seems like, however given the outcomes of the corporate’s acquisition by Microsoft, some followers are understandably involved.

Possibly we don’t want a Blizzcon in 2024

Blizzcon has been a gathering floor for Blizzard followers yearly for a lot of the final a number of Octobers or Novembers, however the firm is altering up its strategy this 12 months with “a number of, world, in-person occasions” to rejoice the thirtieth anniversary of Warcraft. This covers one of many firm’s pillar franchises in an enormous 12 months, as that is an growth 12 months for World of Warcraft. The Battle Inside growth is ready to launch someday in 2024, with some speculating it’s going to launch round August. Diablo IV, in the meantime, additionally has an growth arriving this 12 months, with Vessel of Hatred set for someday in “late 2024.” That might imply plenty of issues, however on condition that it’s not “vacation 2024,” it might definitely be out earlier than a 2024 Blizzcon would have taken place. That leaves Overwatch 2, which is within the weirdest spot of all Blizzard’s video games proper now. Whereas it’s nonetheless rolling out heroes, modes, and patches at a daily cadence, there are experiences that Blizzard has canceled the sport’s deliberate story marketing campaign. The corporate hasn’t formally said as a lot, however there’s presumably unhealthy information ready within the wings. With out that a part of the sport to tout, Blizzard has already talked about most of what’s coming for Overwatch 2 this 12 months at Blizzcon 2023.

If Blizzard needs to present World of Warcraft and Diablo IV room to breathe after two main expansions, Hearthstone and Overwatch 2 can’t carry a present by themselves, particularly with how Blizzard has gutted the latter. So if most of what Blizzard was engaged on ultimately Blizzcon goes to be out by the point Blizzcon 2024 would have occurred, possibly it’s not the time to have an enormous blow-out present and make large guarantees about stuff that’s not going to be out any time quickly?

Picture: Blizzard Leisure

A Blizzcon cancelation remains to be extra unhealthy information

That’s the charitable learn on a Blizzcon no-show in 2024. However even when all of these issues coalesced to make the occasion pointless from a advertising and marketing perspective, there are plenty of different circumstances surrounding Blizzard that make the choice value elevating an eyebrow at. That is the primary 12 months that Blizzcon would have occurred for the reason that firm was acquired by Microsoft. Whereas the acquisition has solely been in place for just a few months, Microsoft got here in and laid off swaths of Blizzard’s workforce, together with a lot of the narrative and occasions workers on the Overwatch staff. If the Xbox firm is coming in seeking to lower prices, there’s a reputable concern about whether or not Blizzcon goes to return again even when the corporate’s pipeline is primed for an enormous showcase.

Activision Blizzard as an organization has been in determined want of a clear home following controversies surrounding its office tradition and a harassment lawsuit. However the optics of shedding workers, reportedly canceling the foremost pillar of a sport that followers have been excited for, and now canceling an enormous fan occasion, all within the span of 1 quarter instantly following the acquisition, aren’t fairly for Blizzard or Xbox. It’s bizarre being a fan of Blizzard’s work when the corporate is so megalithic that it’s by no means with out controversy. Even the slightest shift in its enterprise plans has ripple results that have an effect on a number of communities and by no means really feel like they’re remoted incidents.

Blizzcon skipping 2024 might simply be nothing, and possibly it’s going to come again in 2025, although the announcement doesn’t decide to even that, as an alternative saying it hopes to convey it again in “future years.” However it’s the newest in a string of unhealthy information from an organization that has been letting individuals down whereas coping with a neverending inner battle to do proper by its employees and its followers. I’ve been watching this firm flounder for therefore lengthy that even one thing as affordable as taking a 12 months off from a fan occasion will be seen as a foul omen. I’ve a charitable learn, however after watching Activision Blizzard tear down its workers and intestine its video games, it’s getting tougher to learn something it does in good religion. After all of the strife and damaged guarantees, I hope Blizzcon can reemerge in a 12 months or two as a beacon for a way far the corporate has come, somewhat than as a soulless money seize banking on years of squandered goodwill. That’s, if it comes again in any respect.