Conventions and video game companies have become synonymous with one another, but it’s rare that publishers will ever host their own event. Most companies like EA, Activision, and Ubisoft relegate their reveals to bigger, more generalized gaming conventions like E3 or TGS. However, Blizzard has gone a different route and showcases their titles almost exclusively at their own convention known as BlizzCon. In fact, this year’s BlizzCon sold out in around 10 minutes (though some of this was due to scalpers), but it certainly does signify the meaning this event has for a lot of people.
In order to understand why other publishers should host their own conventions, we need to look at what makes BlizzCon so unique from other experiences like E3 or PAX. One of the biggest is the sheer volume of time the developers have to talk about their games not just with the press, but more importantly the community itself. Overwatch alone had five major conferences across a two day period that not only showed off their new additions but allowed fans to get an inside look into creating Overwatch. Contrast that with E3, where publishers have to rapid fire cutscenes for video games without being able to provide proper details on any aspect.
It’s this intimacy that is one of BlizzCon’s greatest strengths, as it allows them to generate a personal connection with their fanbase and help them understand where they are coming from when designing a title. This is only enhanced by the various Q&A’s Blizzard’s developers hold for everyone. Blizzard sets time aside for their fans and helps give thorough and thought out answers.
One of the other big aspects is that it allows players to go hands-on with many of the new additions or builds of games that have yet to be released to the general public. Again, this is nothing especially new for conventions, but since a single developer can focus in on four to six big titles, they remove the feeling of being rushed to see everything. BlizzCon allows players to take their time and experience changes, which is probably one of the most important aspects.
Sure, companies will often host events for the press to come out and demo a build, but it’s equally (if not more) important for the community around this game to experience. Not only can this help bring insight and opinions from different skill levels and experiences, but it also helps with testing to see what works and what doesn’t. Engaging the gaming community is vital and allowing them ample time to check out their newest builds certainly helps.
Esports are another aspect of BlizzCon that is surprisingly not explored as much by other companies during conventions. Throughout the convention, Blizzard hosted four championships across their gaming library that showcased some of the best players in the world at the highest level of play. By adding this to other publisher focused conventions it would not only allow them to showcase the more competitive side of their titles, but also act as a celebration for them.
Which, when it really comes down to it, is the biggest reason why BlizzCon is such a success year after year. BlizzCon is a celebration of not only Blizzard’s video games, but the dedicated fans who have stuck with them. There’s no doubt that the communities surrounding Assassin’s Creed, GTA, Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Destiny are definitely as passionate as Blizzard players. It’s important for developers to not only acknowledge their player base but spend time with them and thank them for their support.
Players want games to succeed and be fun, so allowing them access to an upcoming roster is both a fantastic way to build faith with your audience and help deliver the experiences they deserve.