BlizzCon has been canceled this year, per a new statement by Blizzard, instead the company is opting for a "global event" akin to BlizzConline early next year.
The statement released on the Blizzard website cites the fluctuating gathering guidelines in California especially, as Anaheim is typically where the conference is held each year, as a reason for canceling the annual event. Earlier this year the company held BlizzConline, a digital event which took the place of last year's canceled in-person gathering, and it looks like the company is planning more of the same for next year.
In the statement by Saralyn Smith, BlizzCon's executive producer, Smith explains the event is a "complex affair" that requires months to plan. Citing the pandemic, BlizzCon this year just wouldn't be up to the standard Smith says the team holds themselves to in the end.
"Building an in-person BlizzCon is an epic and complex affair that takes many months of preparation—not just for us, but also for the many talented production partners, esports pros, hosts, entertainers, artists, and other collaborators we team up with locally and globally to put all of the pieces together. The ongoing complexities and uncertainties of the pandemic have impacted our ability to properly move forward on many of these fronts, and ultimately we’re now past the point where we’d be able to develop the kind of event we’d want to create for you in November."
BlizzCon will return in some form in the "early part of next year," according to Smith. The company is planning another "global event" and it doesn't rule out the possibility of an in-person component, as Smith states the planned event combines "an online show along the lines of [their] recent BlizzConline with smaller in-person gatherings[.]"
You can check out the full statement by Blizzard on the official website. This news comes after a recent report by IGN details the last five years of the iconic game developer and the challenges faced by those crafting the games put out by the World of Warcraft creator.