The president of Blizzard has stated that the company aims to bring back BlizzCon in 2023.
The ‘annual’ gaming convention designed to celebrate Blizzard’s games hasn’t had a live, in-person event since 2019, and Blizzard head Mike Ybarra has told the Los Angeles Times that plans are underway to bring it back.
“We previously announced we’re taking a pause on BlizzCon while we reimagine it for the future but do want to return to a live event that enables us to celebrate the community,” Ybarra explained.
“We recently hired a new leader of BlizzCon, April McKee, who is hard at work on that plan. […] We are committed to bringing back BlizzCon in 2023.”
There hasn’t been an in-person BlizzCon event for the past three years, the last taking place in 2019.
In May 2020 Blizzard officially cancelled plans for that year’s event, due to the ongoing challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The company stated at the time that it was discussing the feasibility of instead holding a digital event in 2021.
This digital-only event, dubbed BlizzConline, took place in February 2021, but a few months later Blizzard confirmed that hopes to hold a physical event later in the year had been scrapped due to the ongoing pandemic.
The company also stated that it planned to hold a hybrid event in early 2022 that would mix the formula of BlizzConline with “smaller in-person gatherings”, but this too was cancelled following the emergence of a sexual discrimination and harassment scandal at Blizzard.
“Any BlizzCon event takes every single one of us to make happen, an entire-company effort, fueled by our desire to share what we create with the community we care about so much,” Blizzard said as it cancelled the 2022 event.
“At this time, we feel the energy it would take to put on a show like this is best directed towards supporting our teams and progressing development of our games and experiences.
“Additionally, we would also like to take the time to reimagine what a BlizzCon event of the future could look like. 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. We’re committed to continual communication with our players, and we see BlizzCon playing a big role in that going forward.”
Ybarra also used the LA Times interview to defend Diablo Immortal’s heavily criticised implementation of microtransactions.