“Every voice matters,” one of Blizzard Entertainment’s eight core values, seems to be floundering along with the company’s direction.
I’m not ready to “close” the BlizzPro shop yet. The news this week that Activision-Blizzard announced a record financial year, and then proceeded to cut 800 “non development” employees which mostly included community and esports staff, broke our hearts. It also made us wonder if we wanted to continue pouring our passion into this company.
BlizzPro was never created to make money. We’ve always been in this for the community. We brought passionate community members who loved sharing their experiences with other community members. We sought to bring news to the community, and in doing so bring others together. We wanted to inform passionate gamers and have the chance to talk with developers about their insights on the games we love. We had several members on our team eventually move on from here and land a job at Blizzard, which, at that time, was their dream come true.
Yesterday, Activision-Blizzard decided that community is no longer a priority. Their commitment to community vanished.
This year is my 20th anniversary of writing for a fansite. It’s my 15th anniversary of solely writing for a Blizzard fansite. It’s my 6th anniversary of owning a fansite. Every year rears its ups and downs, and every single person on our team can tell you about this. BlizzCon happens, we meet up and geek out over what will be announced. We hang out with the community and have a grand ol’ time as we work our butts off and put out a combined average of 100 articles and videos throughout the weekend. That adrenaline ignites something for the next several months as we get excited about writing and putting things out there. Summer normally hits, things slow down. Burn out begins. This is where we sometimes lose a member or two. But we never worry, because we know more will join us a couple months before BlizzCon hits when the buzz starts again.
BlizzCon 2018, there was no adrenaline. The writing was already on the wall leading up to that, but it became much clearer.
Company CEO Mike Morhaime had already stepped down. Rumors swirled that Activision was more interested in numbers than they were people. Blizzard had been moving in this direction for the last several years. In the community, if you didn’t have the numbers, you didn’t matter much, anymore. It didn’t always used to be this way, but around the time that Titan was cancelled, a definite shift happened.
I strongly believe that Titan broke Blizzard, emotionally and monetarily. They had gone all-in on that game. They came out looking good with the hit Overwatch, but it was a double-edged sword. Emotionally, it had already taken it’s toll, and monetarily, Activision wanted more. Many of the people that made Blizzard the success we all know and love started leaving the company. I strongly believe that Morhaime was Blizzard’s shield from greater Activision, and with the numbers at hand, he could no longer hold them back. No longer would Blizzard be able to lead responsibly, another one of their core values taking a shot.
The people cut–those who had a thumb on the pulse of the community–are now gone. While they weren’t involved in the development pipeline of a new game or maintaining an old game, they were important for what made Blizzard so special. These were the people who helped drive our passion and also helped support it.
BlizzPro will hang on for now, but we realize that things aren’t going to be the same. The people on this team are still awesome–we’re a bunch of friends and nothing is going to change that. However, as Blizzard struggles with its core values, we find ourselves struggling with our passion for their games.
As we consider what the future holds for BlizzPro, we encourage you to check out our new project, YetiArcade. Many of our BlizzPro team members have begun writing about their experiences with games, gadgets, and other geeky stuff, and we’d love to have you join the conversation.
From all of us at BlizzPro, thank you for sharing your love of Blizzard’s games with us. While some community voices have faded, we hope that you will always find your voice in every community you treasure.