Reading that Blizzard won’t be holding BlizzCon this year brought up some mixed feelings.
On the one hand, aside from news and insight into Blizzard’s games and process, there isn’t much at BlizzCon for me. At this point the dance contest is the same old dances… and sometimes the same old contestants… every year. And the costume contest is neat but… well… if you are into it, cos-play pictures are half the reason to put Kotaku in your RSS reader.
But that is just my view. I try not to be one of those self-absorbed people who thinks that if Blizzard doesn’t have a big BlizzCon announcement to entertain me, they should just fold up their tents and go home.
BlizzCon is more than just a vehicle for announcements. It is a community event. And it is a hugely popular event. Tickets sell out like it was Madonna… or somebody popular if Madonna no longer fits that bill. 25,000 fans gather together in Anaheim, California and celebrate all things Blizzard. Or most things Blizzard. I heard that the Lost Vikings fan base finally gave up on their revival hopes.
And in that way, as a community event, it is on par with SOE’s Fan Faire and CCP’s Fanfest. It is a chance to bring your biggest fans together to geek out on the minutia of the game and let them interact with the teams that bring them the games they love. It can be an important and memorable experience for everybody involved.
But it is an expensive event, both in time and money. And while Blizzard has money, time is clearly something on which they are running a deficit. They have been quiet on Titan for how long? When did they last release a Diablo game? Can they afford to keep WoW on an 18-24 month expansion cycle?
And getting teams together to give presentations as well as just having a critical mass of your teams available to interact with fans can take big chunks out of your already mythical man months of development and testing.
I suppose we might be able to gauge whether time is their real issue by how far overboard they go with their April Fools jokes this year. Not that the such things directly impact the same people, but part of saying you’re too busy for something is showing that you mean it.
Why do you think Blizzard is blowing off BlizzCon this year? Are they really too busy with all their projects or is this a subtle sign that the next Modern Warfare title is already slipping and Bobby Kotick needs Blizzard to make up even more of a revenue shortfall on the Activision side of the house?