The year’s BlizzCon, the annual convention to celebrate the games from Blizzard, is scheduled for November 5 and 6. Microsoft announced a surprising sponsorship announcement Friday that means a heavy presence for Windows 10 as well as the ability to watch the event through the Xbox One. The BlizzCon schedule also leaked out with a heavy emphasis on World of WarCraft, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.
BlizzCon will take place in Anaheim, California and will be viewable through the Xbox LIVE Events interactive (XLEi) app, Xbox LIVE Director of Porgramming Larry Hyrb announced on his Major Nelson blog.
This is part of the planned Windows 10 sponsorship for BlizzCon with both the operating system and the Xbox team having a significant presence on the show floor.
“I will be attending BlizzCon 2015 this year and look forward to seeing Windows 10 sponsoring one of the biggest PC gaming community events,” Hyrb wrote before detailing how he would pick five random people to give free tickets too.
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) October 9, 2015
The BlizzCon sponsorship for Windows 10 is an interesting move, but makes sense as Microsoft has made a greater push into PC gaming since Phil Spencer took over as the Head of Xbox following Satya Nadella’s rise to the CEO position. Microsoft is moving towards an ecosystem business model over a solely an operating system and products model. That means greater support for PC gaming too.
This sponsorship has led some to wonder, particularly on Reddit, if Blizzard will eventually announce more games for consoles. Diablo III did make the jump to last-gen and current-gen consoles successfully after a long history of “we are investigating” comments from the developer. The transition could largely be considered successful, however, and there are other games in the studio’s line up that would also work well on the Xbox One or PS4 such as Hearthstone and the upcoming third-person shooter, Overwatch.
If any of that does come to fruition, the announcement would likely come at BlizzCon in November. While not official, the schedule for the convention did leak out over the weekend via MMO Champion. World of WarCraft unsurprisingly gets a heavy amount panel time following the announcement of the Legion expansion at Gamescom this past August. There are four different panels during the two day event compared to Diablo III‘s single panel. Just take a look at these panel details centered around the new expansion.
- World of Warcraft: Legion – World and Content Overview: 12:30-2 pm Friday: The World of Warcraft team takes you on an epic tour of the new content you’ll explore in the expansion, including the zones of the Broken Isles, new dungeons and raids, and how the story unfolds. You’ll also get a sneak peek at upcoming features.
- World of Warcraft Cinematics – The Road to Legion: 2:15 – 3:15 pm Friday: Blizzard’s cinematic artists share a behind-the-scenes look at how they bring some of Azeroth’s most iconic figures to life.
- World of Warcraft: Legion – Game Systems: 1 – 2 pm Saturday: Take a closer look at the major features coming in Legion. Dig deeper into classes, Artifacts, itemization, professions, the Demon Hunter, and other evolving gameplay elements.
- World of Warcraft: Q&A – 2:30 – 3:30 Saturday: Members of the World of Warcraft development team take your questions about the game’s lore, zones, dungeons, raids, and more.
Meanwhile, StarCraft II gets two panels on the first day followed by a single panel on Sunday. The first panel on the future of StarCraft II is potentially the most interesting with the release of the Legacy of the Void expansion coming up.
Blizzard’s MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, also gets three panels with one covering hero design and another discussing the current state of the game and likely how the development team plans to evolve it.
Overwatch only gets two new panels as it is still in development with an unknown release date. Somewhat surprisingly, Hearthstone only gets one panel.
In between will be tournaments for StarCraft II, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. There will also be cosplay contests and more.
What do you think of the Windows 10 and Blizzard partnership? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via BattleNet]