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BlizzCon 2022 Online Cancelled; Plans to “Reimagine” Event

BlizzCon

Blizzard Entertainment have announced they have cancelled BlizzCon 2022 Online, with plans to reimagine the event.

 

BlizzCon 2020 was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic; with “BlizzConline” supposed to take place digitally this year on February 19th to 21st. That too was cancelled, replaced with a “global event” set for early 2022. Once again, this has been cancelled, but perhaps for reasons other than concerns over COVID-19.

“Any BlizzCon event takes every single one of us to make happen,” the statement explains. “An entire-company effort, fueled by our desire to share what we create with the community we care about so much. At this time, we feel the energy it would take to put on a show like this is best directed towards supporting our teams and progressing development of our games and experiences.”

The time will be taken to “reimagine what a BlizzCon event of the future could look like.” While alluding to changes since the event first began, Blizzard state they want the event to feel safe and welcoming for everyone.

“The first BlizzCon was held 16 years ago, and so much has changed in the time since—most notably, the multiple ways in which players and communities can come together and feel like they are a part of something bigger. Whatever the event looks like in the future, we also need to ensure that it feels as safe, welcoming, and inclusive as possible. We’re committed to continual communication with our players, and we see BlizzCon playing a big role in that going forward. We’re excited about what we’ll do with the event when we revisit it in the future.”

 

While BllizzConline will not occur in February 2022, there will still be announcements and update for upcoming games. Nonetheless, a reason for cancelling the event may be the bad PR around the company.

 

As previously reported, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) concluded a two year investigation. Their findings lead to a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for “frat boy” style sexual harassment; possibly leading to one woman committing suicide on a company trip. Other claims include discrimination by women being paid less, and promoted less frequently and after longer periods of time.

While initially dismissed by Activision Blizzard as including “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past,” and “factually incorrect, old and out of context,” almost 1,000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees signed an open letter condemning the response as abhorrent and insulting.” 

Staff led a walkout on July 28th. Their demands included ending mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, adopting policies to improve representation at all levels of the company, publishing pay data to show women are paid and promoted fairly, and hiring a third party to audit the company’s executive and HR staff.

CEO Bobby Kotick stated that the company’s initial response was “tone deaf,” and announced they were bringing in law firm WilmerHale to conduct an immediate review of their policies and procedures. While announcing third party evaluations, diverse hiring, and removing references to accused developers from their games; employees were dissatisfied with the response for not addressing their demands.

An “alliance” of Activision Blizzard staff also rejected WilmerHale as the third party auditing the company. This was due to an alleged conflict of interest, the law firms alleged “history of discouraging workers’ rights and collective action,” and being led by Stephanie Avakian; allegedly specializing in “protecting the wealthy and powerful.”

Blizzard Entertainment announced they would be removing references to accused developers and censoring sexual content in World of Warcraft. This has included censoring in-game paintings featuring women with deep cleavage or in their underwear. Jesse McCree of Overwatch was also renamed, due to being originally named after a developer named in the allegations.

Other changes in World of Warcraft have included removing “negative” emotes (which could be deemed unwanted contact or mockery) and adding more positive ones, renaming suggestive enemies, adding male enemies to some purely female mobs, mounts, and achievements. Flirting and sexually suggestive or otherwise “inappropriate” jokes from player characters were also removed.

Claims from temporary workers were added to the lawsuit; along with allegations of Activation Blizzard destroying documents relating to employees and pay.

After an $18 million USD settlement deal with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the DFEH objected for it being too lenient, and would hinder their own case as relevant documents were proposed to be destroyed. However, the EEOC claimed there was a conflict of interest thanks to two DFEH attorneys having worked for the EEOC; putting both cases in jeopardy.


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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.