If you were expecting events late in the year to miss the spate of cancelations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, think again. BlizzCon 2020, the convention that celebrates all-things Blizzard, is canceled. Normally held later in the year—usually the first week of November—BlizzCon organizers hadn’t even gotten around to announcing specific dates for the 2020 event yet. Earlier this year, Blizzard expressed some concerns about the ability to even hold the event given the pandemic, and have now confirmed that there will not be a BlizzCon 2020.
However, Blizzard did indicate that it wants to try to organize an online event for fans, something that “will most likely be sometime early next year,” if they can work out the various logistics. They are also looking at ways to support the competitive sports events that usually took place at each year’s show. Blizzard will make further announcements and updates about their ongoing plans for the online show at some point in the future, but wanted to at least announce the decision to not hold this year’s show.
Blizzard’s decision to cancel BlizzCon 2020 comes after weeks of deliberating ways they could uphold the safety and health considerations required to put on a massive event. It was ultimately determined that “complicated by fluctuations in national and local health guidelines in the months ahead” just made planning a large scale event like BlizzCon difficult to navigate and the safest path forward for staff and fans was to simply not hold the physical event.
Blizzard’s cancelation of BlizzCon 2020 more or less confirms we won’t be returning to any kind of normalcy in 2020 in terms of gaming events and expos. While each organizer is free to make its own decisions regarding their individual shows, local restrictions could very well force their hands as the pandemic continues to grow. What this means for next-gen consoles is one of the first console marketing rollout periods where fans and press won’t get to go hands-on with the tech before it launches—at least not on the larger scale previously seen.
While Blizzard is canceling its November fan convention, the organizers of PAX West are still adamant that they will be holding the September expo in the Seattle area, at least as of last month. Sony had also originally planned to hold “hundreds of consumer events” throughout the year to show off the PS5, but it’s still unknown how those plans have shifted since COVID-19. Given Sony was one of the first big companies to pull out of an event (PAX East) early in the year due to health and safety concerns, it’s unlikely the company will relent and hold any physical events at all this year.