Fans of Blizzard Entertainment in Germany and much of Europe may be disheartened to learn that the company won’t be making a showing at the annual Gamescom 2019 fair and exposition. The official Inside Blizzard news page features a statement from the company that expresses its sadness at being unable to mingle with fans in Cologne. It confirms Blizzard won’t have a booth at the event this year, though Activision may still be present.
Gamescom has been a staple of the European gaming community since 2009, and this move mirrors Sony’s plans to skip E3 this year for the first time. Blizzard news states that missing the event is “part of a renewed effort this year to maintain our focus on development, for our current games and our future projects.” Much like Sony, Blizzard has its own event for gathering its fans, the aptly titled BlizzCon, which saw 35,000 attendees last year. By comparison, Gamescom 2018 set a record 370,000 attendees in the same year.
Highlights from convention coverage are a major source of info for fans of console and PC gaming alike. Blizzard did assure fans that its company merchandise will still be on sale at the Gamescom 2019 event shop, but that may still leave fans feeling a bit left out. Especially when it comes from a company so invested in expanding eSports venues and interest around the globe. The excitement that an on-site Blizzard booth creates can change the feel of a whole exhibitor hall in some areas, although with its size Gamescom should be largely fine.
It’s unsurprising that Blizzard declined to include any specific titles when speaking of current and future projects, as it has a legendary ‘release it when it is ready’ policy. But the company’s plans for a lean 2019, with Activision having more influence on cost-cutting measures a likely culprit. Saving money could be a major concern when the company plans its convention schedule. Costs and distances may well determine when and where they send employees across the globe.