BlizzCon will be returning in 2013, according to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. Speaking at a press conference at the Blizzard World Championships in Shanghai, China, Morhaime said that the Global Finals held this weekend in China will also be moved to next year's BlizzCon, presumably for the return of the Battle World Championship Series. No date has yet been announced.
In January, Blizzard announced that there would be no BlizzCon in 2012, due to the company's “jam-packed” schedule of getting Diablo III, WoW: Mists of Panderia, and StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm out the door. It was also to make way for its inaugural Battle.net World Championship Series, which saw over 30 national events and five regional events all over the world, culminating last weekend in China with finals for StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft.
“It's an incredibly ambitious undertaking to hold these events all over the world,” Morhaime stated when asked about Blizzard's first foray into a year-long series of major events. “It turns out an event like this in China, broadcasting in multiple languages, streaming to people around the world, isn't as easy as you might think.”
Numerous StarCraft 2 events held throughout the year by Blizzard, along with several other major organisations such as Major League Gaming, DreamHack, the North American Star League, and the Electronic Sports League, have certainly kept fans busy. It has become so busy that there's some worry that it is straining both spectators and players.
“There's some challenges just with all of these tournaments going on, as a spectator, not knowing what to watch or what the significance is of winning this event or that event,” Morhaime said. “Having pro players put in a position where they have to choose between two important events--those are some of the things we'd really like to avoid in 2013. We'd like better coordination and cooperation between partners.”
With the Battle.net World Championships as Blizzard's big event of the year, Morhaime was asked about comparisons to the other big events and games in the space, namely Riot Games' Season 2 Championships with League of Legends, and Valve's The International 2 with Dota 2.
“We like to learn what everybody else is doing right, but, at the end of the day, we're not focused on what they're doing; we're focused on what we're doing,” Morhaime said. “We're trying to make our games as good as our games can be, and provide a great experience for players.”
He does, however, feel that there are differences between StarCraft 2 and those other games.
“StarCraft 2 is a very different type of game than the other games you mentioned. It's a very different experience; it's very unique. I think it has a lot of things the other games don't offer, in terms of watchabilty, strategic depth, it's just a very unique game," he sai.
In terms of investment, Morhaime sees Blizzard as being right up there with Riot Games and Valve.
“We're also making significant investment. We may be doing it in a different way, we spend an awful lot of money in terms of travel, hotels, making it easy for all of these pros and people involved in putting on these tournaments are able to get to the places they need to be. Maybe it's not as flashy as putting all the money into prize pools, but it's still significantly expensive, and, from what we're told, that's actually more helpful for the ecosystem than just the flashy prizes.”