Overwatch and World of Warcraft maker Blizzard is skipping Gamescom this year to focus on development efforts.
The publisher is pulling out of the German trade show "as part of a renewed effort this year to maintain our focus on development,” it claimed in its March earnings report this week.
"The number of developers working on Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone and Diablo in aggregate will increase approximately 20 per cent over the course of 2019," said Blizzard.
It’s unexpected, but not entirely unsurprising. 2019 marks a sort of transition year for Blizzard Entertainment and the wider Activision Blizzard. In a Q1 earnings call yesterday, executives claimed the firm was focussing on esports, mobile, and beefing up existing franchises with no new releases planned.
Alongside this focus comes further downscaling on non-development initiatives. We’ve already seen the start of this, with mass layoffs earlier this year largely hitting HR and marketing staff.
Blizzard has also begun to consolidate its catalogue by ramping down games that haven’t hit as hard as the likes of Warcraft or Overwatch. Developers have already been pulled away from Heroes of the Storm, while esports plans for the firm’s middling MOBA were cut short.
"The company will fund this greater investment by de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business."
Blizzard isn’t giving up Gamescom for good, though. The firm hopes to return one day, “when the time is right.”
Gamescom is taking place between Tuesday, August 20th and Saturday, August 24th.