In brief: Blizzard is making some changes to its event plans amidst a slew of sexual assault allegations and scrutiny from federal investigators. Instead of hosting an online-only "BlizzConline" convention next year, the company is scrapping the concept entirely so it can funnel its resources into what it feels matters most: developing games.
Blizzard says this decision was a difficult one but ultimately the right call for its business moving forward. It wants to take some time to "reimagine" what BlizzCon is and what it should be while using the resources it saves by not hosting the event to support its teams and "progress" development on its games and experiences.
Blizzard's announcement post is mostly corporate fluff, and it doesn't directly mention any of the controversies it has found itself embroiled in lately (probably for legal reasons). However, the company says it is committed to making future BlizzCon events as safe, welcoming, and "inclusive" as possible. In other words, no more "Cosby Suites," at least not any time soon.
This news might disappoint some of Blizzard's fans, and frankly, that includes me. It feels like ages since the last time we've had a proper large-scale BlizzCon event, and I'm really hoping this pause is only temporary and not the strategy Blizzard plans to employ in 2023 and beyond. It's always fun to see the excited (or angry) reactions of the crowd when new Blizzard games and content are revealed, even if those reactions are virtual.
Regardless, there is a silver lining here. Announcements for Blizzard's various franchises are still coming, they just won't happen at one centralized event. Instead, you'll see them spread throughout various "franchise channels," which probably means Blizzard's many social media profiles and game-specific blogs.
The BlizzCon team will help "support" those efforts, so they might be a bit spicier and eye-catching than usual. If there's one thing the BlizzCon folks are good at, it's creating a spectacle, for better or worse.