World of Warcraft
developer Blizzard Entertainment has stated that it will not be attending the newly expanded E3 2009 event, just days after merger partner Activision confirmed their involvement.
Although Blizzard owner Vivendi Games became a wholly-owned subsidiary
of Activision in July of last year, Blizzard has continued to operate largely autonomously. Even so, it was assumed that Activision's confirmed E3 attendance
also included Blizzard, who regularly attended the event during its heyday.
Blizzard confirmed its plans to pass on E3 with a single sentence statement
to consumer website Giant Bomb: "Blizzard Entertainment will not be attending or participating in E3 2009".
No reasons were given for the decision, but the popularity of the annual BlizzCon event, which traditionally occurs in late summer or early autumn, is likely to be prime amongst them. Key titles to be previewed this year include StarCraft II
, Diablo III
and a still unannounced new massively multiplayer online title.
Activision’s withdrawal from the downsized E3 2008
-- and from the Entertainment Software Association, the trade body that organizes the event -- was seen as one of the major factors forcing a rethink for the expo.
The 2009 event now seems very much in line with the pre-2007 expos, with most major third party publishers, including Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, in attendance.