“To celebrate the community.”
It’s a big day for 2023 video game convention news. That’s right, Blizzard has said it is looking to bring back its BlizzCon event in 2023.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra said his company wanted “to return to a live event that enables us to celebrate the community” and was “committed to bringing back BlizzCon” next year.
The annual BlizzCon event held in Anaheim has recently been pushed online due to Covid, and was then scrapped completely this year as Blizzard faced various allegations of staff misconduct and a toxic company culture.
BlizzCon was the focus of allegations detailed in the State of California’s lawsuit against Blizzard concerning a hotel suite apparently used by former World of Warcraft senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi and other Blizzard employees over the course of the convention, which was informally dubbed the “Cosby Suite”.
“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,” Blizzard said in a statement last year, announcing the cancellation of BlizzCon 2021.
“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. Whatever the event looks like in the future, we also need to ensure that it feels as safe, welcoming, and inclusive as possible.”
BlizzCon’s culture also faced scrutiny when a video from 2010 resurfaced showing senior staff – including now-departed Blizzard president J. Allen Brack – openly mocking and dismissing a female fan during a World of Warcraft panel.
“It saddens me to see that video,” Ybarra said now, referencing that clip. “It reminds me of how important the culture work we have is. It represents what I hope we are growing beyond. I know we will grow beyond. I don’t think it ever ends. There’s no high-five that we met our commitments. This is something that is going to be in our DNA forever.”
In the same interview, Ybarra also defended Blizzard’s use of microtransactions in the recently-released free-to-play Diablo Immortal, and said the vast majority of players were able to play the bulk of the game without spending any money.