Blizzard announced today that it was taking a "step back" and putting planning for next year's BlizzCon on "pause." The team cites a desire to "reimagine what a BlizzCon event" will look like in the future.
The event, which was originally scheduled for early 2022, has been all but canceled at this point with this announcement. Blizzard states in their post on the official website that this was done out a desire to divert the energy that goes into planning a major event like BlizzCon, whether it be in-person or online, could be better spent "towards supporting [their] teams and progressing development" of the company's games.
The post also talks about reimagining what BlizzCon will look like in the future, with the specifically stating that future BlizzCons need to not just cultivate an environment where players can gather and be a part of something "bigger," but also create an environment where everyone feels "safe."
"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. We’re excited about what we’ll do with the event when we revisit it in the future. "
Blizzard does state that while BlizzConline will not be happening in February, they would still be announcing updates for their games in development, which include the next Diablo game, as well as the in-development sequel to the 2016 hero-shooter, Overwatch 2. The team doesn't state whether or not 2021 will be BlizzCon-less, simply that the previously planned event in February has been all but canceled. This does leave the door open for an event later in the year around when BlizzCon would traditionally happen in person.
All of this is with the backdrop of the current lawsuit allegations brought forth by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleges Activision Blizzard allowed a "bro culture" to flourish at the game company, specifically one that led to sexual harrassment and descrimination. The lawsuit was filed in July, and since has seen many high profile Blizzard employees forced out of the company, including former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack.