Blizzard president confirms a focus on mobile and live service games, briefly discusses studio’s ‘new era’


The tide of change is continuing to slip its way across the shores of Blizzard, which is the general tone of a BlizzCon interview with president Mike Ybarra, who discussed what the future is looking like for the studio as Microsoft’s subsumption takes hold, albeit with a broad strokes approach.

Ybarra begins by claiming that Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer’s “[focus] on culture and enabling creative freedom” is giving Blizzard “more of that sense of being an independent studio than ever before.” Ybarra also confirmed that while Spencer did visit the studio recently, things are still moving on as usual, with a distinct lack of talking business.

One highlight of the interview includes the studio’s strong focus on continuing to build live service games: Ybarra claims that giving players “new content literally almost every single day” is tailored to a live service business model, but he also claims to not be afraid to “turn business models upside-down.” Incidentally, when he was asked about Blizzard’s developing survival game, he acknowledged that it wasn’t on the BlizzCon floor simply because there was nothing to show off.

Another major highlight is the suggestion by Ybarra that more mobile titles will be released from Blizzard, saying, “Mobile is a hyper growth area for us. I would love our IPs everywhere.”

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, pay disparities, sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, federal settlements, executive misconduct, pipeline issues, messy financials, declining titles, failed partnerships, widespread illegal unionbusting, disastrous management, brain drain, bungled OW2 PvE, WoW Classic RMT, and the still-astonishing revelation that the CEO threatened to have his assistant murdered. As of 2023, the company has been acquired by Microsoft.



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