Cannes Lions

BlizzCon 2023

ZED INK, Venice / BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT / 2024

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

We reimagined the legendary BlizzCon event for a new era, building an immersive portal into Blizzard IP that was part convention, part sporting event, and part theme park experience. Our goal was to stay true to the video game IP, and honor the passionate and diverse fanbase at the core of this event. Our challenge was to deliver compelling programmed live content while keeping gameplay and community engagement at the forefront. We aimed to deliver news, announcements, panels and discussions from Blizzard leadership and developers to a combined live and virtual audience in the millions, without sacrificing quality or experience.

Based on fan priorities (via survey responses), we aimed to provide thoughtful community spaces, and numerous opportunities to engage deeper with the IP through meet-and-greets, exclusive announcements, and gameplay.

Idea

We conceptualized an experience that was part convention, part sporting event, and part theme park experience. The two-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center kicked off with a globally broadcast 90-minute stage show featuring breaking news and announcements from Blizzard and Xbox leadership.

From there, attendees would take a journey through our experiential halls, designed with 4 key principles: immersion into the IP with an epic scenic focal point at the entrance of each hall; community spaces with multiple places for gathering, connecting, and spectating; iconic and memorable activations; and finally, a significant emphasis on gameplay. We made classic BlizzCon elements like gameplay and community gathering more experiential through immersive scenic builds, lighting design, soundscapes, and interactive activations — giving fans the opportunity to choose their own adventure.

The event concluded with an exciting cosplay competition and performance by a popular k-pop group featured in the latest Overwatch game.

Strategy

Our goal was to stay true to the video game IP, and honor the passionate and diverse fanbase at the core of this event. Our challenge was to deliver compelling programmed live content while keeping gameplay and community engagement at the forefront. Our Arena mainstage was our programming focal point, paired with four massive experiential halls. Our approach was to design the event with diversity in mind, understanding that individuals vary in how they prefer to experience content. We designed the format so attendees could experience the live content as an audience member seated in the arena, or they could experience the content through large simulcast screens throughout the experiential halls while they were gaming, congregating or participating in activations.

Based on fan priorities (via survey responses), we aimed to provide thoughtful community spaces, and numerous opportunities to engage deeper with the IP through meet-and-greets, exclusive announcements, and gameplay.

Execution

For the Opening Ceremony we designed a multiscreen set, using a variety of LED products which created an almost unlimited ability to adapt to each IP’s visual identity. Simulcasting the content throughout the experiential halls allowed fans to maintain their allegiances (ie: Warcraft fans watched with other Warcraft fans in the Warcraft Hall), creating a sense of shared experience amongst the 25,000 in-person attendees.

Attendees were spectators of competitive gaming, announcements, and performances, as well as active participants in competitions, activations, games, niche meetups, flash mobs, merch trading, and installations. There were numerous opportunities to interact with Blizzard personalities by competing against them in duel-a-dev games, meet-and-greets, signings, and panel conversations. All senses were engaged as fans walked through massive halls with targeted projection, lighting, and audioscapes, evoking feelings akin to an immersive theme park experience. Most importantly, the event elicited emotion — awe, connection, nostalgia, IP love, and community.

Outcome

Targets and metrics are confidential to our client, but viewership and sentiment proved to be successful.

BlizzCon 2023 was one of the most-watched conventions on Twitch.

The event was covered by various community members in live-streaming as well as broadcasted on official Blizzard channels on Twitch and YouTube.

In total, over 3.3K individual channels on various live-streaming platforms covered the BlizzCon 2023 event. The event accumulated 8.65M Hours Watched and 80% of this watch time came from English-language broadcasts.

Various other languages were represented both in-person and from home; Spanish, German, and French-language broadcasts were the most prominent of the other languages, contributing 5.7%, 3.8% and 3% of the total watch time, respectively.

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