Since late last year, there’s been indication that Blizzard Entertainment is going through a set of struggles as it works to find new ways to win fans over. These new approaches have included a shift to a more mobile-focused gaming future, and the struggles have seen a restructuring of the company’s workforce. Amidst these continued changes, one of company’s co-founders has taken it upon himself to step away on his own terms.
Co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment Frank Pearce has announced he will be leaving the company. Pearce is the second co-founder to leave in recent history, with former Blizzard President Mike Moriame deciding to announce his resignation in late 2018. J. Allen Brack, who has since filled Moriame’s role as president, published his own statement, saying that while Pearce spent most of his time at Blizzard working behind-the-scenes, he played a vital role in turning the company into what it’s become today:
Like many of us, Frank is an introvert. Thus many of you haven’t seen a lot of him publicly, nor seen the deep impact he’s had on Blizzard, and on the culture specifically. But Frank has been here from the beginning, building and expanding the foundation and championing the values behind everything Blizzard does. Blizzard is better because of Frank Pearce.
Pearce, alongside Moriame and Allen Adham, founded the company under the name Silicon & Synapse, Inc. before rebranding to Blizzard Entertainment in 1994. The company is best known for its Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft series as well as one of the most successful MMOs ever in World of Warcraft.
The past year, however, has seen a drastic change in the company’s vision, and it has impacted its workforce on a global scale. As a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, the company endured massive layoffs of nearly 800 employees despite posting a record year 0f revenue for 2018. Part of the decision to make these layoffs was based on an expected drop in revenue for the current fiscal year, as Activision and Bungie have recently ended their partnership, and the company has a notable lack of any new game releases planned for 2019.
Another speed bump in Blizzard’s rocky road runs through Blizzcon 2018, when the announcement of the mobile-exclusive Diablo Immortal was met with harsh feedback from fans. It doesn’t appear this backlash will hamper the company’s vision however, as all of Blizzard’s existing IP will likely come to mobile in the future due to the wide popularity of Hearthstone over the past few years.
It’s clear Blizzard Entertainment is not the same company it used to be, and it will likely endure struggles on various fronts for a while. Currently, the company’s esports division is reportedly running into trouble, as a result of the aforementioned layoffs and mismanagement by leadership. This has caused many working for Activision Blizzard esports to leave due to low morale. While it’s true people will always come and go in the workplace, the close proximity in which Pearce and Moriame have decided to leave the company says a lot about the changes occurring at Blizzard.
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