For vague reasons, Blizzard has announced that Blizzcon 2012 will not happen. This annual fan convention has been a huge event for five years running and the cancellation comes as a complete surprise to nearly everyone.
Blizzard cites a “jam packed schedule” as their reason for canceling the convention. They promised that the usual tournaments held at the con, notably the StarCraft II and Warcraft competitions, will happen late this year at another venue.
“We’re excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We’re also heavily focused on getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possible. In light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.” Says their blog.
Why would Blizzard do this? It can’t be for lack of interest, as the convention has seen record attendance every year since its inception. A precedent does exist, as after the first convention in 2005, the company canceled the 2006 event, but came back strong in 2007 onward.
It’s also a huge missed opportunity for the company as the con was usually held in the fall, after most of the other game companies had already held theirs, and often got more press than nearly all other cons as well. It was where Blizzard showcased it’s latest releases and newest games, often saving big updates and rollouts for the convention itself.
One issue may be money. The convention has lost money every year and in these tight economic times, that may very well be the reasoning here. But given the costs (and the $200/ticket fans are willing to pay), this seems dubious. The marketing bonanza the convention always creates has to more than make up for losses.