Blizzard co-lead Jen Oneal, who was promoted to her position alongside Mike Ybarra following former company president J. Allen Brack’s own exit amidst the ongoing Activision Blizzard sexual harassment investigation, has announced that she will be stepping down from the role after just three months in order to focus on how she “can do more to have games and diversity intersect.”

Source: Overwatch – Alive (2016), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: Overwatch Officially Renames McCree In Wake Of Activision Blizzard Lawsuits

Oneal announced her departure in a blog post published to Blizzard’s official website on November 2nd, informing players that she had “made the decision to step away from co-leading Blizzard Entertainment and will transition to a new position before departing ABK at the end of the year,” and as such, “Effective immediately, Mike Ybarra will lead Blizzard.”

“I am doing this not because I am without hope for Blizzard,” she clarified. “Quite the opposite–I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here, working towards meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts. This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact that will benefit Blizzard (and other studios) as well.”

Source: World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (2020), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: Blizzard Says Ongoing World of Warcraft Content Edits Being Done In Service Of Being “Inclusive”

According to the now ex-co-lead, her decision to leave Blizzard has also been supported by the ABK Workers Alliance – an unofficial and informal union composed of Activision Blizzard employees – with its membership “agreeing to make a US $1 million grant to Women in Games International–a fantastic non-profit organization, where I am a board member, that cultivates and advances equality and diversity in the global games industry,” which “will be used to fund skill-building and mentorship programs.”

Source: Overwatch 2 (TBD), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: Activision Blizzard Settles U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Lawsuit, Agrees To Establish $18 Million Victims Fund

As for her “remaining time” with Blizzard, Oneal stated that she would be working on “transferring my responsibilities to Mike, and transitioning into a new role working closely with Activision Blizzard and WIGI to determine the first steps around how the grant will be utilized, and its structure.”

“The partnership is full of potential and is another step in a long-term commitment to create better support, resources, and guidance to women in the gaming industry,” she added. “Mike has been unbelievably supportive throughout my decision-making process around this move, and I have every confidence in him leading Blizzard.”

Source: Heroes of the Storm (2015), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: New Labor Lawsuit: Activision Blizzard Accused Of Attempting To Prevent Its Employees From Exercising Their Rights

She then asserted, “Mike and I have been working together to develop many of the actions we’ll be taking to continue making Blizzard a safer, stronger, and more inclusive workplace, and I know he plans on sharing some of those actions with you soon.”

Drawing her blog post to a close, Oneal explained, “I wanted to tell the Blizzard community this personally because I want you to know I believe so strongly in Mike and the rest of Blizzard’s leadership both in terms of Blizzard’s culture and Blizzard’s games.”

Source: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (2010), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: Blizzard Censors ‘Sexualized’ Background Paintings Featured In World of Warcraft Since Launch

“Blizzard’s best days are ahead. I truly believe that,” she concluded. “I also am hoping this letter helps you to think about what you can do to make everyone around you–no matter their gender, race, or identity–feel welcome, comfortable, and free to be themselves.”

Source: World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth (2018), Blizzard Entertainment

What do you make of Oneal stepping down from her role as the co-lead of Blizzard? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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