Amidst lawsuit, Blizzard cancels BlizzCon to focus on game development
Blizzard Entertainment has canceled BlizzCon 2022 in order to focus on “supporting our teams and advancing the development of our games and experiences.”
In May, Blizzard said its annual show, typically held in November, would be pushed back to 2022 and reinvented as BlizzConline, with virtual sessions and smaller in-person gatherings. But that was before Activision Blizzard was accused of fostering a toxic workplace, prompting the resignation of then-president J. Allen Brack and other senior executives.
This week’s statement, titled “Reimagining BlizzCon,” does not directly address the allegations or the ongoing lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). But he acknowledges that “whatever the event is in the future, we also need to make sure it feels as safe, welcoming and inclusive as possible.”
Blizzard hasn’t officially rescheduled BlizzCon, so it’s not clear if or when the event will return. The statement, in part, reads: “We would also like to take the time to reimagine what a BlizzCon event from the future might look like. The first BlizzCon took place 16 years ago, and so much has changed since then, including the myriad ways players and communities can come together and feel like they’re part of something bigger.
While not hosting BlizzCon, the studio said it “will always be making announcements and updates for our games.” With Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 in development, and Blizzard now maintaining its live-service games like World of Warcraft, fans can expect status updates regarding these games in the near future.
Until then, Activision Blizzard faces a fight against the DFEH, which accuses the company of having created a culture of “frat boy” which disadvantages employees. In its two-year investigation, the DFEH alleges that Activision Blizzard fostered a sexist culture and paid women less than men while women do substantially similar work, assigned women to lower-level jobs and made them less successful. promoted at slower rates than men, and fired or forced women to quit at higher frequencies than men.
More than 40 Activision Blizzard employees left or were sanctioned in the months following the lawsuit, including lead designer Jesse McCree. If you recognize this name, it’s because it’s the namesake of Overwatch character McCree, who has now been renamed Cole Cassidy, reports IGN.
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