Blizzard has canceled BlizzCon 2020, aims for online replacement early next year

    
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Not riding a dinosaur.

Remember back in April, when Blizzard said it was still working on BlizzCon even under the threat of the pandemic and hadn’t fully canceled it yet? It’s made the call in a blog post today.

“During this time, we’ve had many discussions about what holding a convention could look like in light of all the health and safety considerations we’d want to make,” the studio says. “We’ve also talked about different paths we could take, and how each one could be complicated by fluctuations in national and local health guidelines in the months ahead. Ultimately, after considering our options, we’ve come to the very difficult decision to not have BlizzCon this year.”

While it’s not going to hold a live or online replacement event in November, Blizz does say it’s working on a way 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.” There are no hard details given here, though it says it’s looking at “sometime early next year” for whatever that turns out to be.

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Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

Those blue eyed Blood Elves have been announced already anyway. I doubt this years BlizzCon could have topped that. Better luck next year, Blizz. Stay safe.

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federicobeiz

This is not because of the pandemic IMO, I think they just don’t have enough new things to show yet to justify the cost.

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Daniel Reasor

When the Insane Clown Posse canceled this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos, I thought, “why don’t more people show the same quality of leadership as Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J,” because that’s the timeline we’re in folks

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Bruno Brito

I wheezed.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I’m surprised, I figured they would just do it online; maybe they’re worried about having too many staff in one place at once to do it online through a Live Stream (might even be a legal thing through California).

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Armsman

I can see it now…an online Blizcon accessible ONLY from Cell phones… (What? Don’t Blizzard fans have cell phones? ;) ).

(Seriously, good call on their part as COVID-19 will probably flare up during the height of the coming Cold/Flu season. Nope, it ain’t going away, and will remain a BIG issue until there’s a workable vaccine (probably still a year away regardless of what some researchers are claiming – and I wouldn’t want to take one unless it was fully vetted/tested and shown as effective – or ‘Herd Immunity’ develops, but the latter would take a few more years.)

Celestia
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Celestia

I feel bad for the fans who look forward to attending each year, but this was absolutely the right decision.

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Arktouros

Makes sense like every other company doing the same.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

This is the right decision. I’m sure this announcement is being made because they reached their “go/no-go” deadline.

Hope when we do get BlizzCon, they’re able to make it interesting and exciting, two things talking heads alone have trouble with. I hope they’re talking to some of the clever YouTubers who do Blizzard content and have experience making information dumps fun and watchable.

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Blake

Can’t fault them. Ignoring the recent issues that have plagued Blizzard, with every other convention erring on the side of caution this is the smart move here.

Edit: Speaking of the in-person side of things of course.

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Ironwu

This makes ZERO sense. Blizzcon has been online for YEARS now. You just hold the same convention as always, just without the on-site people.

And, of course, all the revenue said on-site attendees bring in.

Which is, of course, probably the real reason for the cancellation. Need to give marketing and PR the time to hype an online-only version, cheapen down the overhead, and figure out how to make the most $$$$ from the online-only attendees.

But really, it is all just about . . . well I cannot think of anything other than the bottom line. Sorry.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Probably the bigger issue here is why they hadn’t already figured out how to do this. For whatever reason, they appear to have been holding on to an in-person convention, which given its November date didn’t seem all that unlikely back in March or April. Now that it’s clear that COVID-19 is here to stay, everyone needs to rethink . . . everything.

On the technical side, of course, going online is no different from what they’ve been doing. But, think about what you see during the convention broadcast, halls full of people, bright lights; and what you hear, cheers, whistles, call-0uts, and the like. It would be pretty damn macabre to have a guy standing on a stage talking to a static camera with no crowd responding. Even if its on Twitch with side comments, face it, it’s not the same in any way as broadcasting a live, in-person convention. The excitement level would be zero.

So, back to my first point. They really should have been planning what to do if there was no in-person convention so they could roll it out instead. And maybe they have been, but the issues needing to be solved and trying to maintain the same level of excitement while live-streaming talking heads may be quite a difficult nut to crack.

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Sorenthaz

Sounds like it’s a good way for them to just dump out trailers and such and put out some videos talking at the community without worrying about the immediate possible backlash/response. Also save some $$.

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Dobablo

I seriously doubt the on-site portion of Blizzcon is profitable for Blizzard. We know that until at least 2009 was run at a substantial loss, but since then ticket prices have doubled so maybe they are closer to breaking even.

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Bruno Brito

This makes ZERO sense. Blizzcon has been online for YEARS now. You just hold the same convention as always, just without the on-site people.

You can’t make a convention without having some sort of infrastructure and personel, Wu. Forcing these people to get to work, even under the safest conditions, still make them vulnerable to the virus.

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Ironwu

Your point is well taken. But, what are these conventions, really:

* A bunch of ‘Announcements’ usually made by a handful of people on a stage, showing slides or videos.

* A bunch of ‘Panels’ with a small number of people sitting around telling stuff and/or answering questions from the audience.

* Some gift bags given to attendees (if they are not ‘virtual’ bags anyway).

All of this can be done from home with the appropriate setup. And the gift bags can be mailed to attendees. This is the 21st century and we don’t need to have these big, in-person conventions to get the point and the information across.

Finally, it looks like this is exactly what they are going to do next year. So, maybe there was just nothing to talk about this year and it really is just a way to dump the costs while blaming COVID-19?

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Bruno Brito

All of this can be done from home with the appropriate setup.

Sure, but…well…

That would require Blizzard to:

1- Charge people for a convention without the same ammount of work put into it. It wouldn’t be worth it. Blizzcon aren’t just Developer patchnotes. You don’t just put people talking about WoW or D4 from home. They can do that for free.

2- MONETIZE a “from-home” Blizzcon. As much as i loathe Blizzard, they’re still a company that prizes themselves on “polished” gaming ( whatever’s left of that anyway, after Reforged and the bug-ridden mess that was Nazjatar ). They won’t try to back-up an amateurish con if they can help it.

It was a better business move to cancel it.