Blizzard is facing one hell of a storm at the moment as several high-profile and experienced staff members are slated to leave Activision Blizzard over the next two weeks.
One of them is Kim Phan, Global Product Director of Blizzard Esports, who has been with Blizzard for over a decade.
The news came after Nate Nanzer’s announcement to stop working at Blizzard and work with rival company Epic. Nanzer is the Overwatch League’s Commissioner, meaning he might be presiding over two Epic Games Store esports titles, Fortnite Battle Royale and the recently acquired Rocket League.
A few months ago, Activision Blizzard laid off hundreds of employees, despite after ‘achieving record sales’.
Internal sources spoke to Dexerto on the confirmed reason for this mass exodus of top-ranking staff. It is said that low morale pertaining to the esports development of the games was the reason why.
A source pointed out that people are not happy working for Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO of Activision Blizzard esports. Vlastelica was formerly Content Manager of Fox Sports, and joined Activision Blizzard in 2016.
“People are really getting tired of working for Pete Vlastelica. 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.”
Some employees think that his previous stint at FOX doesn’t make him qualified to make decisions about what is best for esports, due to the noted differences between the markets.
Another source also pointed out that senior management doesn’t understand esports.
“Right now, there’s a feeling that a lot of the senior management just don’t understand esports, but there is no room for negotiating with these people.
They are convinced their vision, which is more in line with televised sports, is the right way to go and it has just made people miserable.”
As of now, it’s not clear how many people will be leaving the company, but the sources revealed some experienced names that are confidential.
The story is still developing; we’ll be ready to keep tabs on this one.