BlizzCon 2021 is not happening

BlizzCon 2019 photograph.
BlizzCon attendees in 2019 (photo credit: Blizzard Entertainment) (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment.)

Blizzard announced today that there will be no BlizzCon 2021. The annual event was first held in 2005, but the coronavirus pandemic squashed last year's event and has now ended plans for an in-person event this year (BlizzCon usually takes place in October or November). This February saw the first BlizzConline as a virtual replacement for the missed 2020 event (and it had plenty going on), and it looks like something similar—but with a twist—will fill the gap until late 2022 at least.

A statement from Saralyn Smith, executive producer of BlizzCon, reads: "As guidelines in California around in-person gatherings continue to evolve and the status of the pandemic fluctuates around the globe, the teams across Blizzard have been discussing what this means for one of the events we miss the most: BlizzCon. We know some of you might be wondering about your own plans to potentially cross the country—not to mention oceans—and meet your friends, family, and fellow community members in California, so today, we wanted to give you a heads-up that we've decided we will not be holding BlizzCon this year.

"Building an in-person BlizzCon is an epic and complex affair that takes many months of preparation—not just for us, but also for the many talented production partners, esports pros, hosts, entertainers, artists, and other collaborators we team up with locally and globally to put all of the pieces together. The ongoing complexities and uncertainties of the pandemic have impacted our ability to properly move forward on many of these fronts, and ultimately we’re now past the point where we'd be able to develop the kind of event we'd want to create for you in November."

The statement ends by saying that Blizzard is "planning a global event for the early part of next year" which will include an online show similar to BlizzConline, as well as "smaller in-person gatherings."

The idea of smaller gatherings is an interesting one. No one knows when companies will be permitted to hold huge global events like BlizzCon again, but the logistics and risk of, for example, an event limited to one country's population are likely to be more realistic.

"We very much look forward to celebrating with you all again," ends Blizzard's statement. "Until then, we’ll see you in Azeroth, Outland, Sanctuary, and all the other worlds we call home."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."