Saturday Morning Gaming: Blizzcon
Even if you’re not really into video games, you might have heard about 2018’s disastrous Blizzcon. They had the announcement about a new mobile game instead of an announcement about Diablo 4 and responded to everybody complaining about the mobile game asking them “don’t you guys have phones?” and everybody there was upset. And they left upset.
Keep in mind: These are the type of people who do stuff like “buy tickets to go to Blizzcon”. They’re not focus testing this stuff at the mall. They made this announcement in front of their most rabid fans.
So this year was important for Blizzard because they wanted to have a Blizzcon that had people excited for the upcoming products rather than asking “what the heck?”
So, of course, a month before Blizzcon, there was a Blizzard-sponsored Hearthstone tournament where the winner made some pro-Hong Kong statements and then had his championship money rescinded and he was banned from Blizzard tournaments. Well, the internet saw this as An Opportunity. Within minutes, there were a bunch of memes created tying the most popular Blizzard characters to Hong Kong support. After about four days of the internet going NUTS, Blizzard apologized to the players and returned the money and STILL had to swim in outraged Blizzard fans (because, let’s face it, the only people who do stuff like “watch Hearthstone tournaments” are fans of Blizzard products).
So, last year, the headlines going into Blizzcon were “what’s going to happen at Blizzcon?” and “what games will Blizzard be introducing or improving?” and the headlines coming out were “BLIZZARD TONE DEAF TO FANS”. This year, Blizzard was planning on having the headlines be “After last year’s disastrous Blizzcon, how will Blizzard win back its biggest fans?” but, instead, the headlines were all about how clumsy Blizzard was and how they made stuff worse and, oh my gosh, how crazy was Blizzcon going to be and whether they’d squash even the mention of ANYTHING controversial and, thus, provide fodder for future headlines and memes.
Well… Blizzard seems to have learned something. They opened with an apology. Granted, the apology looked like it went through two legal teams first (one local, one overseas) but they acknowledged that there had been recent missteps. And then they talked about Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV.
And you know what? Half of the people coming out of Blizzcon were talking about how unapologetic the apology was and the other half were talking about Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV.
So… this Blizzcon was better than last Blizzcon. But Blizzard will have to deal with PR headaches from now until, oh, at least when the release dates for Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV get announced.
So… what are you playing?