Blizzard decides to skip Gamescom 2019 as part of cost-cutting efforts

    
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The con circuit has always been a sort of expected course for games companies to run, like the Tour de France except with less bicycles and more people trying to get you good and hyped to spend money. One destination in that circuit is Gamescom, the largest gaming convention in Europe and easily one of the largest around the world. However, this staple of the con routine is rather surprisingly being dropped by Blizzard for perhaps depressingly unsurprising reasons: money.

Well, not money as outright stated in the announcement, but the PR version for money, which is “focus on development”:

As part of a renewed effort this year to maintain our focus on development, for our current games and our future projects, we won’t have a booth at Gamescom 2019. The show is an important one for the European and global gaming community, and we’re going to miss meeting players in Cologne this year.

Historically, Gamescom has been a stage for some of Blizzard’s big ticket reveals, including the announcement of World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion and the Overwatch animated short “Rise and Shine.” That history, however, looks to be changing in 2019 even though BlizzCon will still happen — a move that our own Eliot has argued against after the Great Diablo-shaped Bellyflop of 2018. Still, you’ll be able to buy Blizzard game merch at Gamescom. Yay, probably?

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Leiloni

They’re trying to get Classic WoW out this summer, rumors are that we may hear about a new WoW expansion during Blizzcon, and as others have said, rumors are that they’re working on games for other IPs as well.

Why put the time and money into a con that you aren’t going to get much out of when you really need to be spending time and money on developing games? I don’t know it seems like a no-brainer to me. These cons aren’t easy peasy routine things. It’s a big effort. I think it makes sense to skip things sometimes and only go when you really have something big ready to announce. Isn’t that the point of a con anyway?

Further, since they have their own con coming up, it’s far more beneficial to save all the goodies for then. Get all your fans in one place, get ticket sales and other stuff from them, build up excitement, etc. Gamescon is essentially a competitor to that. Don’t build up the competitor if you don’t expect to get a big return on investment.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Why Gamescon is supposed to be 21-24 April, its May now and everyone is like Gamescon didnt happen yet. Did I miss something?

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partiesplayin

“Don’t you guys have phone’s ” lolz at a PC gaming conference . They are skipping it because they have nothing to show the PC gaming world.

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Tuor of Gondolin

Blizzard — if we go, people will ask us questions we don’t want to answer.

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Helder Frozenheart

Bring a StarCraft MMO or just die already.

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McGuffn

This is a shame. If the past is any indication Gamescom would be more receptive to their mobile lineup than Blizzcon. I mean, there’s even a big rumor that people in Europe have phones, and that is Blizzard’s target audience.

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Armsman

Wow, you’d think they’d still put up a “Cell Phone Tryout” booth or something to showcase their latest offering…

What 8 Billion in profits last year, yet they need to ‘cut costs’? If you want to see growth, Promotion ain’t what you should cut.

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Bruno Brito

Which is what makes me think that this isn’t really the “profit” they really wanted. All the firings only worked to make the books more pretty, and now, Activision-Blizz is realizing what will REALLY suffer here: Their production.

Expect Kotick to “retire” next year, sell his shares of the company and enjoy life with his silky, golden parachute.

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Venomlicious

With all the job cuts they did none were development. They added to the development within and just trimmed the fat. They are working on a few games and I think we will see one this year at BlizzCon. Like I said StarCraft FPS seems to be something they have been working on for 3 years now.

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Danny Smith

Well their shareholders have already been vocal about them having little in the way of new projects and their “heres what we already showed you” stage shows have never been popular. I imagine they are just saving what they have for Blizzcon where pr would say ‘we can be in total control of the narrative’. They have had no good press in like at least a year so probably are full on turtling.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

We can be in total control of the narrative

heh, being in total control of the narrative really worked out for their Diablo Immortal announcement, right?

I mean, they could very well be thinking that, but the reality isn’t likely to line up with them “controlling the narrative,” BlizzCon is going to be walking into a hostile audience who’s pissed off about just about every IP they have and trying, desperately, to turn that around.

I don’t envy them in this – BlizzCon and the sole focus being on Blizzard Games means that the eyes are all. on. them. with no other distractions. Everything they say and do will be under a microscope of hypercritical press and fans. This might be the best chance they have at repairing the damage they’ve done over the last year, but if they flub it up there’s nothing else to distract people from it. It’s a double edged sword.

Eliot Lefebvre
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Eliot Lefebvre

Part of me wonders if that’s essentially the calculated math being done in this situation. Do you throw all of your efforts into winning back the crowd with one big PR push (thus ensuring that if anything falls flat, you’re cooked) or do you spread things out a bit more (thus ensuring that you have distractions on hand but not having the same focused intensity)?

My suspicion, given the consequences of failure, is that going all-in on one big moment might be the right call. But it’s a hard call.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

Yeah, it probably is the best call but I don’t envy them in it. at all.

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DargorV .

PR isn’t getting them out of this mess haha

SirUrza
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SirUrza

I think people are reading too much into it. Blizzard skipping Gamescom lines up with other companies skipping e3. Blizzard has Blizzcon, just like Sony has it’s own thing now. Spending a ton of money to attend someone else’s event does seem silly when you think about it.