After three years without an in-person event, BlizzCon is aiming to return in 2023. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times published today, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra stated that the company is actively working toward bringing the live event back for next year under the leadership of April McKee, who joined Blizzard this past February after over 20 years at Microsoft.
“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 said. “We are committed to bringing back BlizzCon in 2023.”
From 2005 to 2019, BlizzCon was an annual convention held by Blizzard which hosted fans, and typically featured new game announcements, previews, or other types of programming geared around the company’s library of games. In 2020, the in-person event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an online virtual celebration taking its place. The following year, Blizzard once again shelved the event due to the pandemic.
Blizzard initially planned an online BlizzCon event for this year, but in late 2021, the company announced the event had been canceled. At the time, Blizzard stated that the event would be “reimagined” for the future — a sentiment Ybarra echoed in his interview.
The cancellation came months after multiple lawsuits were filed against parent company Activision Blizzard, one of which alleged that both gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment had taken place at Blizzard. However, the company did not explicitly state that there was a connection between the lawsuits and the event’s cancellation.
More recently, Blizzard has faced scrutiny for its implementation of microtransactions in Diablo Immortal. Just a few weeks after its launch, it was reported that the game had generated $24 million in microtransaction revenue alone.