BlizzCon 2024 isn't happening

 Photo of BlizzCon 2023 main stage.
Photo of BlizzCon 2023 main stage.

One year after bringing it back as a live event for the first time since 2019, Blizzard has announced that the annual weekend convention known as BlizzCon will not return for 2024. The studio says it made the decision internally, not at the direction of new owner Microsoft.

"After careful consideration over the last year, we at Blizzard have made the decision not to hold BlizzCon in 2024," the studio said in a statement. "This decision was not made lightly as BlizzCon remains a very special event for all of us, and we know many of you look forward to it.

"While we’re approaching this year differently and as we have explored different event formats in the past, rest assured that we are just as excited as ever to bring BlizzCon back in future years."

BlizzCon was at one time one of the most anticipated gamer-focused conventions of the year, typically featuring major announcements—the 2019 event gave us Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4, among other things—along with developer panels, esports events, and possibly the most famous cosplay contest in existence.

But the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll, forcing the cancellation of in-person events in 2020 and '21, and while a free virtual event, the unfortunately-named BlizzConline, was held in 2021, it really wasn't the same—and plans for a followup online event in 2022 were derailed by the fallout from a major civil rights lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard in 2021.

In-person action finally returned in 2023, which was notable primarily for the appearance of Microsoft Gaming boss (and new Blizzard overlord) Phil Spencer, and that appeared to signal that BlizzCon was finally back for real. But apparently not.

In lieu of BlizzCon, Blizzard said it has "exciting plans for other industry trade shows and conventions," and is also planning multiple in-person events globally to mark the 30th anniversary of World of Warcraft, which will run in conjunction with in-game events in Warcraft games to be held throughout 2024.

"While these events are distinct from BlizzCon, we’re harnessing all of our creativity and imagination to ensure that they carry the same spirit of celebration and togetherness," Blizzard said. "Our hope is that these experiences—alongside several live-streamed industry events where we’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening in our game universes—will capture the essence of what makes the Blizzard community so special."

Blizzard didn't say why it's elected not to hold BlizzCon in 2024, but it feels a little ironic given that just over a week ago World of Warcraft executive producer and vice president Holly Longdale said Microsoft's approach to the company so far is "let Blizzard be Blizzard." I had some doubts about that at the time, given the post-acquisition call to cancel Blizzard's far-along (and apparently quite good) survival game, not to mention the layoff of 1,900 employees across Microsoft's gaming division, which reportedly took a heavy toll on Activision Blizzard.

In a statement provided to PC Gamer, however, Blizzard said the call to drop BlizzCon in 2024 was not handed down by Microsoft. "This is a Blizzard decision," a representative said. "We have explored different event formats in the past and this isn't the first time we're skipping BlizzCon or trying something new. While we have great things to share in 2024, the timing just doesn’t line up for one single event at the end of the year.

"Instead we want to focus on highlighting individual games and their moments—Warcrafts’ multiple anniversaries, the upcoming releases of World of Warcraft: The War Within and Diablo 4's first expansion, Vessel of Hatred in particular.”

Blizzard said more information on those launches and other plans for 2024 will be shared in the coming months.