Blizzard has officially cancelled this year's BlizzCon live event, citing "health and safety considerations" relating to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
BlizzCon executive producer Saralyn Smith had initially highlighted the uncertainties surrounding this year's show in a blog post written last month, explaining that Blizzard was "considering a range of scenarios and possibilities", but that "it might be a few months before we know for certain if or how we'll proceed".
In a follow-up post earlier today, however, Smith announced, rather sooner than expected, that Blizzard had taken the "very difficult decision" to cancel this year's BlizzCon.
"We've had many discussions about what holding a convention could look like in light of all the health and safety considerations we'd want to make," Smith noted, "We've also talked about different paths we could take, and how each one could be complicated by fluctuations in national and local health guidelines in the months ahead."
While Smith said Blizzard was "feeling deeply disappointed about [the decision to cancel BlizzCon]", she noted the team was currently discussing how it might "channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect with [the community] in some way online, far less impacted by the state of health and safety protocols for mass in-person gatherings. "
However, due to it being "new-ish territory and the different factors involved", Smith says an online event will most likely take place "sometime early next year." Additionally, Blizzard is currently investigating alternative avenues for "supporting some of the high-level [eSports] competition that would normally take place at the show."
Hopes were, of course, high that BlizzCon 2020 might mark a return to form for a show that suffered a disastrous 2018, and only half righted the boat in 2019, when promising announcements for eagerly awaited games including Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 were rather offset by Blizzard CEO J. Allen Brack's limp non-apology regarding the controversial suspension of Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai.
Blizzard says it will share more details on its next BlizzCon steps "as they develop".