“Every Voice Matters” – one of the eight core values of Blizzard Entertainment, just got a lot quieter.
I’m not ready to “close” the BlizzPro shop yet. The news this week that Activision-Blizzard had a record financial year, and then proceeded to cut 800 “non development” employees which mostly included community and esports. Our hearts were crushed by the news. It has also made us wonder if this is something we want to continue pouring our free time into.
BlizzPro was never created to make money. We’ve always been in this for the community. We brought in people who were passionate community members who loved sharing our experiences with other community members. We sought to bring news to the community and put our own spin on it. We wanted to be able to inform people and also had the chance to talk with the developers of the various games and get more insight on the games we loved. 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 job.
Yesterday Activision-Blizzard has decided that community is no longer a priority for them. Their commitment to community is now gone.
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. There are always ups and downs throughout the year, and every single person on our team can tell you about this. BlizzCon will happen, we all meet up and geek out over what will be announced. We hang out with the community and just have a grand ol’ time as we work our butts off and put out an average of 100 articles and videos during that 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 more will come join us a couple months before BlizzCon hits when the buzz starts happening again.
BlizzCon 2018, there was no adrenaline. The writing was already on the wall leading up to that, but it became much clearer.
Mike Morhaime had already stepped down. Rumors were swirling that Activision was more interested in numbers than they were people. This was a direction Blizzard had been moving toward in 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 that way, but around the time that Titan was announced as 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, monetarily Activision wanted more. Many of the people that made Blizzard be Blizzard, started leaving the company. I strongly believe that Morhaime was the shield Blizzard had from 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, now gone. While they weren’t involved in the development pipeline of a new game or maintaining an old game, they were important in making what had 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 all a bunch of friends and nothing is going to change that. As Blizzard struggles with its core values, we find ourselves struggling with our passion for its games. But all eras must come to an end, and it appears that this may be one of them.
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.
And from all of us at BlizzPro, thank you for sharing your love of Blizzard’s games with us. While some voices have become quieter recently, we hope that you will always find your voice in every community you treasure.