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It came as quite a shock to all of us when Chris Metzen announced he was retiring, not only from Blizzard but from gaming in general. Now, in an interview with Scott Johnson of the Instance podcast, Chris talks about the reasons behind his decision. The whole thing is well worth a listen, but here are some highlights:.
"Leaving Blizzard was an incredibly difficult thing. I'd been there since, essentially, I was a kid. I think I was 19 when I got hired and it was my whole life, it was my identity. And it was in many ways, all-consuming. It was just incredible, but there can be a cost sometimes to running that hard."
As expected, developing Titan and then transforming it into Overwatch was extremely difficult and took its toll.
"I think during those years I burned out really hard. I think in my heart, I needed a change in my life. I wanted to slow down, I wanted to just not carry the weight of it all. But when you've been at a company like Blizzard for as long as I have, I think about Shawshank Redemption: I'm an institutional man now. I'm a Blizzard guy, through and through. I love that place. I love the people. It made me feel schizophrenic."
"I started having panic attacks left and right and just non-stop anxiety. Before I finally retired, I think I had been having panic attacks all the time, but I didn't know what they were. Kat and I would go on dates to go to a movie and almost all the time, I would start panicking in the middle of a movie. I had no idea what was going on."
That and his new born daughter added up to the decision to leave Blizzard and the wider gaming world behind, a decision we can all respect, and, in our own selfish way, be saddened by.
Unfortunately SoundCloud embeds don't seem to be working right now so you can listen to the full interview here.
The Q2 2019 Earnings Call was held on August 8 and Blizzard remains at 32 million monthly active users (MAUs). WoW subscribers increased since mid-May, following the release of WoW Classic Beta and Rise of Azshara.
Q2 2019 Earnings Call Highlights
Hearthstone MAUs increased Q/Q following the release of the Rise of Shadows expansion and deeper, more engaging new single-player content in the quarter. Overwatch MAUs were relatively stable Q/Q, with engagement increasing following the release of the Workshop. World of Warcraft® subscribers increased since mid-May, following the release date announcement and beta for World of Warcraft Classic and the Rise of Azshara update. At Blizzard, daily time spent per player increased Y/Y. Overwatch League hours viewed continued to grow Y/Y in the two stages held during Q2. Season to date, viewership and average minute audience have grown double digits Y/Y. Activision Blizzard delivered approximately $800M of in-game net bookings in Q2. Revenues and operating income are down Y/Y, reflecting lower in-game revenues. Operating margin fell Y/Y, with the revenue decline partially offset by lower costs. They continue expanding their development teams and resources to accelerate the delivery of content in their pipeline, pursue business models, etc. Slide Presentation
Blizzard today confirmed they no longer manufacture physical authenticators. If you own one, it will still work, though.
Forum users wondered whether the physical authenticator has been discontinued and Blizzard confirmed they no longer manufacture them, but they are still supported. If you own one and think it may run out of juice, consider switching to the mobile app.
I’ve been searching all over the place, and I can’t see a place where it says that these have been discontinued. But the link to the store where they used to sell them is just a 404 now.
So, does Blizzard no longer provide hardware authentication? I’m starting to make the move away from phone apps and into authentication hardware like a yubikey.
We no longer manufacture, or offer physical authenticators. Sorry!
Wow…ok that is totally unexpected!
I still have mine. I assume it will be supported as long as the battery lasts. Is that the case? I really really dislike phone apps.
Yes, they’re still supported just no longer manufactured.
Will there be a new physical authenticator down the pipeline, or should we just think of it gone from now on?
I don’t have any information to share on that front.
Any information how they are supposed to change up their authenticators?
The process for changing or removing an authenticator hasn’t changed. Nothing about the authenticator system has changed except that the physical keychain is no longer available for purchase.
If their keychain authenticators are still working* and they would like to change to a mobile authenticator they can do so pretty easily:
Removing the Blizzard Authenticator Once the old authenticator is removed, they can immediately attach the new one.
*If the authenticator is no longer working, this article will still be able to assist them. If they have a SMS number associated with their account they can use that for removal or they can contact customer support if they need assistance.
Gerber Kawasaki Inc. owns roughly 90,000 shares of Activision, worth about $4.3 million, according to Bloomberg, and the company's Investment Advisor Representative Nick Licouris thinks Disney should be the buyer of Activision, amid declining share price.
Disney is in the firm’s top three holdings, with a 13F filing listing more than 152,000 shares valued at almost $22 million, based on the data gathered by Bloomberg.
The Disney investor sees potential benefits between Activision's growing esports business and Disney's TV network. He also sees an opportunity for Disney to leverage its film and TV characters. The declining share price over the past months could very well mean that Activision could become a takeover target.
Furthermore, the article discusses Disney's history in the video-game industry, their struggles and how the company ramped up hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, ultimately deciding to go with licensing instead of publishing.
Disney already televises Overwatch League under a multiyear deal and the acquisition could lead to closer ties, according to Licouris.
Click here to read the full article
After Mike Morhaime, another co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment is now leaving, as Frank Pearce departs after 28 years with the company. He has some really nice words about both the old and new guard at Blizzard and seems incredibly happy with his journey so far. We also get a comment from CEO J. Allen Brack who looks back on his time with Frank.
Frank Pearce (source)
From Frank Pearce
The time has come for me to step away from Blizzard and pass the torch to the next generation of leaders.
My journey as part of the Blizzard community began over 28 years ago. Allen offered me an opportunity to join him and Mike in their adventure and dream to make video games. Video games were a passion that we shared, and I had only a fleeting hope that I would have the opportunity to make games one day. The decision was easy for me - I did not have the benefit of internet searches to help start me down the path. Allen’s offer letter was the best and only chance I thought I might ever have. Looking back, I know how incredibly fortunate I was to have been a part of what Blizzard has become.
Our efforts were always guided by well-intentioned purpose. We made games that we wanted to play, believing that like-minded people would also want to play those games. Today we characterize it more specifically with the ambitious vision of bringing the world together through epic entertainment. I am so proud to have had the chance to positively impact the lives of so many people through the experiences we have created.
My time at Blizzard encompasses the entirety of both my professional career and my adult life. I have countless fond memories. Working with the best developers in the world on the best franchises in the world definitively stands out. Even more prominent are my memories of our first BlizzCon where I realized the special importance of the people and communities that had become part of the experience for our players.
Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to have been involved with Blizzard, our games, our employees, and most importantly our community. Before Blizzard I struggled to find a place in which I felt I belonged. Now I know I will always have a place, as will many other people. Thank you to all of you for providing me the sense of inclusion I require as a person.
I have been lucky enough to work with J and Ray for many years, and now it is their responsibility to define how the adventure continues. They are game development leaders that are incredibly talented, experienced, and truly understand what is foundationally most important for Blizzard and our community. I know that the future of Blizzard will be amazing under their guidance. There are many exciting initiatives in the works, and I can’t wait to see the end results.
Everything I have done at Blizzard has been driven by my passion. I have worked very hard and very passionately for a very long time. Now it is time for me to reflect and be thoughtful about what comes next. I plan to spend more time active in the outdoors. I’d like to learn to play an instrument. I hope to devote more time to aspects of my life that may not have gotten as much attention in the past. One thing is for certain – I will continue to be a part of the Blizzard family.
My request and hope for all of you is that you continue living the Blizzard values and that you be kind and respectful to one another as you experience what Blizzard creates in the future. Blizzard is a special place and a special community, and everyone with whom you interact is important to the Blizzard journey as it continues forward. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful past I have enjoyed, and thank you in advance for the great future I expect we will share.
Play nice, play fair,
From J. Allen Brack
The time has come to say goodbye to one of my heroes, one of our founders, as well as one of our friends. When I moved into my new position last year, Frank stepped into an advisory role to help with the transition, specifically working with Ray Gresko and me on our games, culture, and the future of Blizzard. His support has been invaluable to us and to say we’re going to miss him is an understatement.
The first time I met Frank was during a lunch interview to join Blizzard. I was nervous not only because I was excited about the opportunity to join a company I loved, but because I was sitting face-to-face with one of the founders of Blizzard.
Frank can be intimidating, and sometimes comes across as a bit gruff. Underneath is a person of deep feeling, and of deep love for both the family of Blizzard, and the unique and caring community that has grown around Blizzard games. Frank is also a person I’m proud to call a close friend. Frank was one of the people who got me into running, and we’ve run dozens of races together over the years.
Like many of us, Frank is an introvert. Thus many of you haven’t seen a lot of him publicly, nor seen the deep impact he’s had on Blizzard, and on the culture specifically. But Frank has been here from the beginning, building and expanding the foundation and championing the values behind everything Blizzard does. Blizzard is better because of Frank Pearce.
A few BlizzCons ago, Frank talked about the value of human connection through video games, feeling a sense of belonging within the community, and that comes from a very personal place for Frank. Frank might be hanging up his armor now, but because of the influence he’s had in helping to build Blizzard and the connections he’s made with so many of us, veterans and new recruits alike who are all carrying the same torch forward, he’ll always be here with us.
We love you Frank.
Frank Pearce, Blizzard co-founder leaves after 28 years.