Amidst a storm of backlash sparked by the recently filed lawsuit which alleges that Activision-Blizzard had promoted a ‘frat boy’ workplace culture rife with sexual harassment, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack has announced that he will be resigning from his role at the once renowned video game studio, effective immediately.
The now-former president’s departure was revealed on August 3rd, when Blizzard leadership took to the official company website “to let [fans] know about an important leadership change at Blizzard Entertainment.”
They then announced that “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.”
As noted by Blizzard, Oneal “joined Blizzard in January as executive vice president of development, where she’s been providing senior development leadership and support to the Diablo and Overwatch franchises,” and is also “the former head of Vicarious Visions (which is now part of Blizzard Entertainment).”
Turning to Ybarra’s co-lead, Blizzard recalled how “after many years at XBOX, Mike joined the company in 2019 as the executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology, where he’s been overseeing the evolution of Battle.net and our development services organization.”
“Jen and Mike have more than three decades of gaming industry experience between them,” the company continued. “Moving forward, they will share responsibilities over game development and company operations.”
Blizzard also further attempted (to little avail) to bolster fan confidence in their leadership change by ending their announcement with a standard piece of ‘corporate speak,’ wherein they told fans that “Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust.”
“With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion, and a dedication to excellence,” the company’s statement concluded. “You’ll hear more from Jen and Mike soon.”
Alongside Blizzard’s announcement, Brack himself provided a statement wherein he declared, “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.”
“I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special,” he added.
Having served as Blizzard’s president since 2018 following a stint as the executive producer on World of Warcraft, Brack may be remembered by many for his role in the Blitzchung incident, when he not only allowed for the company’s decision to ban the player from competition after he voiced support for the 2019 Hong Kong protests on-stream after placing first in that year’s Hearthstone Grandmasters, but also offered an absolute non-apology for the company’s pro-China censorship during that year’s Blizzcon.
“We moved too quickly in our decision making and then, to make matters worse, we were too slow to talk with all of you,” said Brack during the event’s opening ceremony, where he further attempted to virtue signal a false image of allyship and concern by wearing a rainbow pride pin on stage.
“When I think about what I’m most unhappy about, there’s really two things: the first one is, we didn’t live up to the high standards that we really set for ourselves. And the second, is we failed in our purpose. And for that, I am sorry, and I accept accountability,” he stated.
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