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Reimagining BlizzCon - BlizzConline 2022 Event Cancelled
26.10.2021 в 13:13
Blizzard has announced that the
February 2022 BlizzConline event
has been cancelled.
The announcement for that event was teased in May 2021, several months before Blizzard Entertainment came
for widespread allegations of gender inequality, discrimination, and sexual harassment revealed in the
multi-year investigation by the State of California
. Since the lawsuit, several prominent Blizzard Entertainment employees have been fired, such as the
Diablo IV Game Director
, on top of ongoing development delays across franchises due to the pandemic.
To the Blizzard community,
We’ve decided to take a step back and pause on planning the previously announced BlizzConline event scheduled for early next year. This was a tough decision for all of us to make, but it’s the right one.
Any BlizzCon event takes every single one of us to make happen, 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.
Additionally, we would also like to take the time to reimagine what a BlizzCon event of the future could look like. 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.
One more thing we wanted to make clear: even though we aren’t holding BlizzConline in February, we’ll still be making announcements and updates for our games. We’re proud of our teams and the progress they’ve made across our games. We have a lot of exciting upcoming news and releases to share with you.You’ll continue hearing about those through our franchise channels, with the talented people on the BlizzCon team playing a part in supporting these efforts.
We’ll miss seeing you, but don’t worry. We’ll be back together soon.
While not directly referencing the lawsuit, Blizzard in today's statement addressed the need to reimagine future in-person BlizzCon, citing a need to be as "safe, welcoming, and inclusive as possible."
have documented Blizzard's rockstar development culture, which led to unprofessional dynamics at BlizzCon as documented by Bloomberg:
Some male employees began to see women at the conventions not just as customers but as groupies. One woman who worked there recalled a conversation in which one of Blizzard’s top executives told a group of his staff that young women—both fans and colleagues—saw them as superstars, and why shouldn’t they benefit sexually from that?
BlizzCon was also the location for the
, a party suite run by Alex Afrasiabi and other Blizzard employees. While used for networking earlier in the evening, the party suite was the location for inappropriate behavior, as referenced in the DFEH lawsuit:
47. In a blatant example of Defendant's refusal to deal with a harasser because of his seniority/position, Alex Afrasiabi, the former Senior Creative Director of World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment, was permitted to engage in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions. During a company event (an annual convention called BlizzCon) Afrasiabi would hit on female employees, telling him he wanted to marry them, attempting to kiss them, and putting his arms around them. This was in plain view of other male employees, including supervisors, who had to intervene and pull him off female employees. Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females that his suite was nicknamed the "Cosby Suite" after alleged rapist Bill Cosby. Afrasiabi would also call females derogatory names at company events. Afrasiabi's conduct was known to Blizzard Entertainment's executives, who took no effective remedial measures. J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard Entertainment, allegedly had multiple conversations with Afrasiabi about his drinking and that he had been "too friendly" towards female employees at company events but gave Afrasiabi a slap on the wrist (ie verbal counseling) in response to these incidents. Subsequently, Afrasiabi continued to make unwanted advances towards female employees, including grabbing a female employee's hand and inviting her to his hotel room and groping another women.
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