Thousands of online game playing addicts will find themselves with a bit of extra free time and unused vacation days this year. Blizzard Entertainment, the company best known for its World of Warcraft franchise, has canceled its annual "Blizzcon" event in which players from all over the world connected to meet face-to-face and play until their eyes bled.
But this is not a permanent end to the annual play-fest. Blizzard is nixing the event for 2012 and 2012 only.
The company said it has a "jam-packed schedule" this year and simply could not work in the logistics of the multi-day geek gathering. It surely was not an easy decision.
Blizzard is more than just World of Warcraft, and it is launching a new hotly anticipated game, Diablo III, this year. The publisher also has two expansion packs - one for World of Warcraft and one for Starcraft II - due out to appease its throngs of online fanatics.
But without Blizzcon, 2012 will have a notable hole. The event is more than just a bunch of WoW addicts seeing each other in person for one time a year. It is something of a cultural haven, with celebrities often making appearances. One of the most noteworthy is Ozzy Osbourne.
The event has also been the stage for major Blizzard announcements, including the unveilings of new World of Warcraft expansion packs. This year, though, we won't get any of the above.
In a sign of confidence for Blizzcon's future, though, Blizzard said it will offer details about Blizzcon 2013 within the coming months.