Mike Morhaime, the man who co-founded gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment in 1991 (originally under the name Silicon & Synapse) and oversaw the launch of numerous hit franchises, including Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft, has stepped down as president and CEO. J. Allen Brack, who previously served as executive producer and senior VP for World of Warcraft, will be taking on the lead role, while Morhaime will stay as an advisor. SEE ALSO: 'Battle for Azeroth' is exactly the expansion'World of Warcraft' needed In his farewell post, published on Blizzard's website, Morhaime didn't share the reasons for his departure. "After many years of working with some of the industry's most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I've decided it's time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment," he wrote. Mike – thank you for everything: for setting the foundation for the games, worlds and communities that we love, and for being a guiding light and an example for us all.
Mike Morhaime has been a part of Blizzard since it was founded in 1991 as Silicon & Synapse, Inc., and now he's stepping down from his role as president and CEO. Former executive producer and senior VP for World of Warcraft J. Allen Brack will take over as president, while Ray Gresko (Overwatch, Diablo III) will step in as chief development officer, while co-founder and former WoW lead designer Allen Adham will join the executive leadership team. In a statement, Morhaime said "After many years of working with some of the industry's most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I've decided it's time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment. I will now serve as an advisor to the company I so love and admire...I truly believe that this amazing community has the potential to be a shining light to the rest of the industry by setting a positive example of inclusivity, tolerance, and acceptance toward others. In the words of one of Blizzard's core values: remember to always play nice; play fair.
BlizzCon 2018 is the end of an era. Just a few weeks ago, Blizzard announced that co-founder and longtime president Mike Morhaime would be stepping down, replaced with J. Allen Brack. Today's Opening Ceremony kicked off with Morhaime saying goodbye, and you know what? He was a great presenter, not in the overly slick way I'm accustomed to seeing at these sorts of shows, but with a quietspoken passion for the company he'd helped guide for 20-plus years. Blizzard lives on, though, and while 2019 won't be the most exciting year there's still quite a bit in store--including the long-awaited Warcraft III remaster.
Diablo Immortal is just the tip of the iceberg for Blizzard Entertainment's new ventures in mobile. After the reveal of Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon Friday, I had a chance to talk to Blizzard founder Allen Adham, who is currently the executive producer of incubation, about its newly announced mobile game and the possibility of other Blizzard franchises getting the mobile treatment. SEE ALSO: 'World of Warcraft Classic' is kind of agonizing No other new mobile games were confirmed by Adham, but he did nod at the fact that the company is interested in creating more mobile games, even hinting at the fact that more unannounced projects are currently in production. "We're excited to imagine taking all of our IPs [intellectual properties] into this venue and bringing them to a full-on global audience," Adham said. "I think in some cases they'll be completely new games. You see this with Hearthstone -- a total reimagining of an all-new game type using the Warcraft IP. In some cases it might be -- like we've shown with Diablo Immortal -- a similar game type but different and unlinked from the core game franchise."
Tens of thousands of fans would have attended. Instead, they'll have to make do with an all-digital replacement in February: BlizzConline. Unlike with BlizzCon proper, though, you'll be able to stream the whole event for free. At BlizzCon, only certain aspects are free to watch, including the opening ceremony (at which Blizzard tends to make major announcements about its games) and at least some of the esports events. For everything else, including developer panels, cosplay contests and the closing ceremony, you'd typically need a virtual ticket, which cost $50 last year.