More High-Level Staff Rumored to Leave Blizzard-Activision Soon

Matt Buchholtz,

June 2, 2019 10:00 AM

According to a recent report, many top-tier employees from Activision-Blizzard will be leaving in the next few weeks, including Kim Phan, Global Product Director of Blizzard Esports.

In a recent report, Dextero has announced that many other top Blizzard-Activision employees will be leaving the company before summer is over. One name, in particular, was dropped along with the report, Kim Phan; Global Product Director of Esports at Blizzard Entertainment.

Phan has been at Blizzard for nearly 13 years, playing an essential part in Blizzard esports since Warcraft III. In addition to the recent departure of Overwatch League VP and Commissioner Nate Nanzer, things would appear to be less-than-ideal inside the company.

If Dextero’s sources are true, the upcoming exodus is in response to low morale at the company, which has dropped from #66 to #96 on Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For since 2016. Many are putting this blame on the increased pressure on esports for the company, and the leagues and divisions surrounding the market.

“People are really getting tired of working for Pete Vlastelica,” reads one source in the report. “The focus has become commercializing the esports titles instead of making good programs for the community. Many people internally are laying that on Pete, and it has crushed morale among the Call of Duty and Overwatch teams especially.”

(Photo Courtesy: Activision-Blizzard)
(Photo Courtesy: Activision-Blizzard)

Having joined Blizzard-Activision in 2016, Vlastelica is the President and CEO of Esports. However, from the report, it seems that Vlastelica’s experience with traditional sports at FOX Sports is not translating well to esports, a very different beast. This sounds very similar to the viral video boom in the early 2000s, where network studios handed out show deals to popular YouTube creators, only to see the projects find limited, if any, success.

Frustration around Blizzard-Activision esports is easy to spot in the online communities. Take, for instance, the Overwatch League; one of the most ambitious esports initiatives to date. Despite the polish of the League, support for both competitive (Ranked) Overwatch and Overwatch Contenders (both of which should provide inspiration, excitement,  and talent for Overwatch League) see little support. Many fear that without proper support at the lower levels that not enough new players will want to join the game and that it may simply die off. If improper leadership is stopping lower levels from making adjustments they feel could mend these situations, that could cause quite an internal rift.

The low-morale could also come from a recent set of layoffs that took place earlier this year. This action shocked many as—after just declaring a record year—nearly 800 employees were let go. From newer hires to staples of the company, no one seemed to be safe from the massive axing. Surely, witnessing such an instance would be enough for survivors to worry about the stability of their own jobs and begin seeking other employment, so perhaps this could be a factor weighing in as well.

What do you think could have caused such low-morale in the company? What do you think Blizzard-Activision can do to fix it? Leave your opinions in the comments below!



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