Hot Take! Blizzard News

Quarterly results came out for ABK yesterday. No big surprises. Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 are delayed further (their leadership all left / was fired). Income is not pipeline based but MTX instead. Diablo 2 remake made some bits of money. Stocks are down ~15%. Fine enough, they are getting hit in the bottom line. Maybe something useful will come from it?

Or maybe they will get rid of their BIPOC Blizzard leader instead? Jen Oneal leaves Blizzard, and Mike Ybarra takes over leadership.

Hot take time! (brought to you through knee jerk armchair reactions!)

J Allen Brack left ~90 days ago, replaced in all but title by 2 people, which was really weird at the time. Felt more like grasping at straws with no succession plan in place prior. It was obvious something was going to shake out.

Jen Oneal ran a successful company. Vicarious Visions delivered quite a bit over the years and was good enough at their job that they were bought out by ABK. While there was hope they could stay a studio under the umbrella, the company was fully merged a few days ago. When that happened, it was pretty clear that other changes were coming.

When you’re actively being sued for discriminatory practices, by multiple fronts, perhaps it’s not good optics to lose your BIPOC leadership and go deep with the white male demographic. This isn’t to say Mike Ybarra is a poor leader, at all. But to somehow find a way to lose your first and only Blizzard female leader in 20 years gives a crazy message to the public. What kind of clown show exists where you can’t find a way to make this work? How bad of a work space is it, that you can’t keep an executive on staff?

Again, it was always clear that either Jen or Mike had to move aside to support a restructure. That the concept of a Blizzard President was all but dead, it was too corrupt and incompetent to survive under the Activision “shareholders first” approach. It’s that in all of this mess, where there’s a clear opportunity to implement a more diverse leadership structure Bobby said so: We will increase the percentage of women and non-binary people in our workforce by 50% and will invest $250 million to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent 

There’s enough piling on Blizzard’s missteps these past few weeks. It would be great if they could actually walk the talk for just a little bit. And that’s only the stuff the public gets to see, which is just the tip of the iceberg! It’s a car wreck that just won’t end, and the rubber necking will continue.

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