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Blizzard Fanfest Goes Online in February

Video game maker Blizzard Entertainment Inc. in Irvine is heading toward its BlizzConline fanfest this coming weekend while its parent company recently posted pandemic-driven earnings that far exceeded expectations.
The coronavirus has kept people closer to home, sparking a boom in online video games.
That same crisis has also forced the shift of the annual BlizzCon and its tens of thousands of attendees at the teeming Anaheim Convention Center to an online version this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 19-20.
It was renamed BlizzConline to show the virtual shift, which coincides with the company’s 30th anniversary.
BlizzConline is an all-digital community event and exhibition of all things Blizzard, offering players around the globe a chance to connect in the online world while circumstances keep everyone from gathering in the real one, the company said this month.
In a pitch to ultra-loyal gamers, Blizzard said: “The champions of Azeroth, the defenders of Sanctuary and the Koprulu Sector, and the heroes of Overwatch and the Nexus are invited to a virtual celebration of community, creativity, 30 years of Blizzard gaming, and the epic adventures yet to come at BlizzConline, coming Feb. 19 and 20 to BlizzCon.com—and everyone can watch the full show completely FREE.”
The company said that “Blizzard developers will be sharing the latest game news with the world.”
“In addition, as Blizzard celebrates its 30th anniversary this February, players everywhere will have a chance to mark three decades of exploring epic games and universes together as they look forward to what the future holds for their friends, guildmates, and allies.”

Cultural Event
In years past, 40,000-plus people showed up for the in-person event in Anaheim. It had been scheduled there for late October or early November of last year, according to the city website, before it was shifted online.
“We couldn’t let too much time go by without connecting with our community in the spirit of BlizzCon, and that’s what this show is all about—getting together with friends from around the world and celebrating the bonds and experiences we share through games,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment.
Blizzard is known for hits including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo franchises, and the multifranchise Heroes of the Storm.
Blizzard is Orange County’s largest software company by headcount, with 2,800 local employees. It’s also OC’s largest office tenant, leasing more than 700,000 square feet in the city.

Parent Revenue Up 25%
Activision Blizzard, the Santa Monica-based parent of the company, said Feb. 4 that net revenue climbed to $2.4 billion in the three-month period ended Dec. 31, up from just under $2 billion in the same period a year ago. Activision Blizzard had predicted a rise to just over $2 billion for the final quarter of last year. Adjusted, diluted earnings per share rose to 76 cents from 62 cents in the fourth quarter of 2019.
On an annual basis, 2020 net revenue shot up 25% over the prior year. Shares in the company were trading at $101.19 early last week, up 9% since the start of the year. The company’s valued at nearly $80 billion.
The company said Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush are expected to “again drive strong results in 2021.”
“At the same time, we are making significant progress against our development pipeline for other key intellectual properties, which we expect to fuel further growth in 2022 and beyond,” the company said.
Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Robert Kotick said employees had overcome “a year filled with adversity” to deliver “record financial results” for shareholders.
“Under difficult circumstances, but with the same conviction and focus, they will continue to do so in 2021,” Kotick said. 

Kevin Costelloe
Kevin Costelloe
Tech reporter at Orange County Business Journal
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