Last month, Blizzard provided an update regarding whether or not this year’s BlizzCon would proceed as planned due to the Coronavirus pandemic. They said that it would take some time to see if it was possible. Today, Blizzard has announced that after giving it some time, they’ve come to the conclusion that there will be no BlizzCon this year. “Several weeks ago, I shared an update about our uncertainty around holding BlizzCon this year. Since then, a lot has changed… and a lot hasn’t changed”, said Saralyn Smith, Executive Producer of BlizzCon. “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. 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.”
Coronavirus has impacted the video game industry in a variety of ways. From the cancellation of events such as E3 2020 to the transition of events into a digital format such as the Summer Game Fest, IGN’s Summer of Gaming, Ubisoft Forward, and more to affecting the release of games such as The Last of Us Part II as it was pushed once again after being delayed from its original release in February. Earlier in the year, Square Enix shipped copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake early so everyone had a chance to play the game.
Blizzard announced that they are making plans for a digital event to replace the physical one, but that won’t be happening later this year. Saralyn Smith said: “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. We’d want to do this as soon as we could, but given that this is new-ish territory and the different factors involved, it will most likely be sometime early next year. BlizzCon is also a stage for big esports events in Blizzard games each year, so we’re also looking into alternatives for supporting some of the high-level competition that would normally take place at the show.”