Blizzard is still planning to hold its annual fan convention in Anaheim this November, but warned today that the event could be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic still prevents large gatherings at that time. Like the rest of us, they just don’t know how things are going to play out.
“While we’re all hopeful things will look better later in the year, the bottom line is that at this point it’s too early to know whether BlizzCon 2020 will be feasible,” BlizzCon executive producer Saralyn Smith wrote in an update. “The health of our community, employees, and everyone who helps with the show is our top consideration. It might be a few months before we know for certain if or how we’ll proceed, but as soon as we have a meaningful update, we’ll share it.”
Blizzard has only skipped two years since the first BlizzCon was held in 2005. Blizzard uses the show to announce what’s next for games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Diablo. It’s an important show, as well as a controversial one as of late: two years ago due to the announcement of mobile-only Diablo: Immortal, and last year with rallies in support of the Hong Kong protests taking place outside of it.
That BlizzCon 2020 might be cancelled isn’t surprising. Since the coronavirus outbreak began spreading to Europe and North America earlier this year, gaming companies around the world have had to respond by cancelling public events. Both the Game Developers Conference and E3 have been cancelled along with a host of esports tournaments and smaller conventions. At the time of writing, there are an estimated 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide.
But, to be clear, BlizzCon 2020 isn’t cancelled for now. Blizzard is just preparing for the worst, and if the worst does happen, Smith said the company is looking at other alternatives. “We do want to mention that prior to the recent events we had been actively working to finalize our plans and in fact are still doing so, despite the workplace changes we’ve now made at Blizzard,” Smith wrote. “That includes considering a range of scenarios and possibilities, not just in terms of the show, but also regarding what the experience would be for you. We know BlizzCon also involves preparation on your part, so we’ll do our best to provide as much clarity as we can, as quickly as we can.”