Mike Morhaime announced this week that he would be stepping down as CEO of Blizzard, the company he helped found. Mike Morhaime has been a fixture in the gaming industry since 1991, when Blizzard was founded as Silicon & Synapse, Inc.
Mike Morhaime will be succeeded by J Allen Brack, former executive producer and senior vice president for World of Warcraft.
In a statement, Morhaime said the following:
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.
Brack also released a statement on Morhaime’s departure, confirming that Blizzard will continue to strive at being a visionary within the industry:
Joining the World of Warcraft team and my favorite game company nearly 13 years ago was an unimaginable dream. Now, to be chosen to lead Blizzard into the future is both a huge honor, and a tremendous responsibility.
This move has also signaled a bunch of other shuffling at the prolific games developer. Ray Gresko, who worked on Overwatch and Diablo III, will switch over to a the position of chief development officer. While co-founder and former WoW lead designer Allen Adham will take a position on the overall executive leadership board.
Morhaime will remain with the company as an advisor on future projects, although the scope of his role within development and day-to-day operations does remain unclear.
Despite these changes, Blizzard will continue to dominate the industry in a variety of ways. With more than 4,000 employees and many dominant games like Overwatch and World of Warcraft, I’m fairly certain that the direction Blizzard heads in post-shakeup will remain strong.