It’s been a rocky couple of years for Blizzard’s annual fan celebration, with the 2020 and 2021 shows cancelled due to the ongoing covid-19 epidemic. Now, as fallout continues from the California lawsuit over the studio’s culture of abuse, discrimination, and harassment toward women, Blizzard has cancelled the BlizzCon online event previously scheduled for February 2022.
In a letter to the community posted today on Blizzard’s website, the developer said that putting on a massive event like BlizzCon takes the time and energy of everyone at the company, time and energy that Blizzard feels at this time would be better put toward “supporting our teams and progressing development of our games and experiences.”
The letter goes on to say that the company will be taking this year’s downtime as an opportunity to reimagine what BlizzCon will look like in the future.
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.
What has also changed since the first BlizzCon is that people have recently become more aware of the culture of harassment and discrimination fostered at the company. As well as being a place for fans to meet up in real life and hang out, BlizzCon is also where former employee Alex Afrasiabi and cohorts would hang out at the infamous Cosby Suite. It is also the event where a fan was laughed at by developers for suggesting that female World of Warcraft heroes dress in something other than bikini armour.
Blizzard concludes its letter to the community by assuring fans that the company will still be announcing games and game updates, just not in a convention setting. All things considered, that’s probably for the best.