Blizzard decided to cancel BlizzCon 2022 and pause the planning of the next editions of the event, for now. In a statement published this Tuesday (26), the company said it intends to “re-imagine” the fair in the future. It is worth remembering that, at the moment, Activision Blizzard is being sued for moral and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Even without BlizzCon, which would be held in February 2022 in online format – BlizzConline -, the company said it will not stop advertising or releasing new content for its games. Instead of setting up the event, Blizzard wants to direct its efforts to “support teams and progress in the development of games and experiences”.
The company also intends to re-imagine upcoming editions of BlizzCon so that the event is safe and includes all audiences. The full release is available in Portuguese below:
“To the Blizzard community,
We decided to take a step back and take a break from planning the previously announced BlizzConline, which was scheduled for early next year. This was a difficult decision for all of us, but it is the right one.
Any BlizzCon takes a lot from each of us to make it happen, it’s a company-wide effort, fueled by our desire to share what we’ve created with the community we care so much about. Right now, feelings that the energy needed to make a show like this is better directed towards supporting our teams and progressing in the development of our games and experiences.
In addition, we’d also like to take the time to re-imagine what a BlizzCon of the future would look like. The first BlizzCon was held 16 years ago, and a lot has changed since then — especially the ways in which players and communities can come together and feel a part of something bigger. Whatever the event dynamics in the future, we also need to ensure that it is as safe, welcoming and inclusive as possible. We are committed to continuous communication with our players and we see BlizzCon playing a big role in that process. We are excited about what we will do with the event in the future.
One more thing we’d like to make clear: even if we don’t hold BlizzConline in February, we’ll still be making announcements and updates to our games. We are proud of our teams and the progress they have made in our games. We have lots of exciting news and releases to share with you. You’ll continue to hear about them through our official channels, with the talented people on the BlizzCon team supporting these efforts.
We will miss meeting you, but don’t worry. We’ll be together soon.”
For now, Blizzard has two big games in development: Diablo 4 e Overwatch 2. However, neither of the two games have official release dates set. In the coming months, the company should focus on informing the public about its upcoming titles, as well as new content for existing products, such as World of Warcraft e Hearthstone.
Harassment scandals may have canceled BlizzCon
Even without commenting directly on the issue, it is likely that BlizzCon 2022 was canceled due to the sexual and bullying scandals at the company. Since July 2021, Activision Blizzard has responded to a lawsuit in California, USA, brought by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) — a government agency that protects citizens in cases of discrimination at work.
Before suing Activision Blizzard, the DFEH had been investigating the company for more than two years. During this period, the agency found that women received lower wages and were subjected to moral and sexual harassment at work. In addition, harassers were not punished, indicating that the problem involved people in leadership positions.
After the opening of the first lawsuit in court, Activision Blizzard began to be sued several times by different organizations, such as investors. Since then, more than 40 employees have been fired or have chosen to leave of their own volition, including former company president J. Allen Brack, the former executive director of Overwatch 2 Chacko Sonny, and the former design leader of Diablo 4 Jesse McCree.
As a result of the lawsuit, Activision Blizzard was required to pay $18 million (BRL 100 million) to victims of harassment. The company also decided to make changes to its games, such as removing references to employees in World of Warcraft and even change the name of Jesse McCree in Overwatch for Cole Cassidy.
With information: Blizzard, Polygon.