BlizzCon 2020 was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the event will come back next year–albeit in a different state. Activision Blizzard announced during its fiscal earnings call that it will host a virtual BlizzCon event in early 2021.
BlizzCon executive producer Saralyn Smith had suggested the possibility of an online replacement for BlizzCon to take place early next year, but at the time the plans had not yet been confirmed. The company promised more details as plans develop, and this is the first confirmation that it’s definitely happening.
“We’re talking about how we might be able to channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect with you in some way online, far less impacted by the state of health and safety protocols for mass in-person gatherings,” Smith wrote at the time. “We’d want to do this as soon as we could, but given that this is new-ish territory and the different factors involved, it will most likely be sometime early next year.”
Smith said Blizzard had looked into continuing to have a BlizzCon in 2020–which typically takes place in the fall–but found that each of the options was “complicated by fluctuations in national and local health guidelines in the months ahead.” She also said that Blizzard was looking into how it would handle esports events, as BlizzCon is often a hub for many of its big tournament finals.
For a while, near the beginning of the public health crisis, Blizzard was waiting to see what happened before making any determinations.
Aside from fan events and esports tournaments, BlizzCon often hosts announcements for upcoming projects and DLC to existing games. Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 are the two big games on the horizon from the studio, though the Activision Blizzard earnings also mentioned “secret tentpole sequels” from the company.