We're just a few hours away from Activision's first quarterly earnings call since the state of California sued the company on allegations of widespread misconduct. Many of these allegations have centred around Blizzard, so some changes were expected – the first of these changes was just announced, with J. Allen Brack leaving as president of the company.
J. Allen Brack took over as President of Blizzard after the departure of long-time CEO and co-founder, Mike Morhaime, back in 2018. After just three years on the job, Brack is being replaced, with two industry veterans teaming up to take over in his place.
“Starting today, J. Allen Brack will be stepping down as the leader of the studio, and Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will co-lead Blizzard moving forward”, a statement from Blizzard says. Jen Oneal became Blizzard's Executive VP of development earlier this year and has been working on franchises like Diablo and Overwatch. Meanwhile, Mike Ybarra joined the company in 2019, after many years at Microsoft helping lead the Xbox team.
Brack also released his own statement as part of the announcement, saying: “I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change.”
This all comes after California's Department of Fair Employment (DFEH) launched a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, citing allegations of “frat boy work culture”. The company's initial response to the lawsuit led to a mass walkout, where hundreds of Blizzard developers protested. These issues will likely be addressed once again during the quarterly earnings call later today.
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KitGuru Says: Blizzard has been hit with one controversy after another over the last few years. A change in leadership is one thing, but it sounds like the studio has deep rooted issues that still need to be addressed in the months to come.