After a couple of years of online events because of the Covid-19 pandemic, some big industry showcases, like GDC (opens in new tab) and PAX (opens in new tab), have been returning to in-person gatherings in 2022. QuakeCon (opens in new tab) will not be one of them, however. Bethesda announced today that QuakeCon 2022 will be digital-exclusive when it rolls around in August.
"Like you, we're disappointed to not return to Dallas this year," Bethesda wrote (opens in new tab). "An event of this size requires months of planning, and in this case, we had to make decisions when there was still too much uncertainty to commit to successfully executing an in-person QuakeCon."
This year's QuakeCon will once again be a digital-only event, August 18-20, 2022. pic.twitter.com/UxJTuZDTYJApril 13, 2022
Bethesda is still nailing down plans for the show, which will include streaming, giveaway, charity opportunities, online meetups, and the "virtual BYOC." BYOC, for those unfamiliar, is Bring Your Own Computer—basically an opportunity to take part in the biggest LAN party in North America (and show off your rig (opens in new tab) while you're at it.). Obviously you can't really bring your own computer to the virtual BYOC, but as Rich noted last year (opens in new tab) it's such a big QuakeCon tradition that it can't just be cut completely.
The decision to stay online-exclusive is no doubt disappointing for fans eager to get back to a face-to-face meetup, but it's also understandable. The pandemic is ongoing—Johns Hopkins (opens in new tab) reported 561 new deaths on April 12, down from the record high of 4,431 daily deaths of January 20, 2021 but still an awful lot—and should the situation continue to spiral, Bethesda could end up on the hook for a lot of wasted time and money if new public health measures are imposed or people decide that attending a large in-person event simply isn't worth the risk.
Specifics on QuakeCon 2022, which will run August 18-20, will be announced in June. Bethesda also said that it is committed to bringing QuakeCon back as a "full in-person festival" in 2023.