The only true constant in life is change. And yet, there are times where said change can be downright frightening when it occurs far too fast. For Activision Blizzard, that time is now.
In case you’ve been in a coma for the last several months, let us catch you up to speed. It’s no secret that the landscape within Blizzard has been shifting over the last couple of years. In fact, some may even say that the Blizzard of today is hardly recognizable from the company that came before.
Blizzard has arguably been one of the most famous – or infamous, depending on how you look at it – game companies in a generation. Responsible for World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and Hearthstone it seems impossible to find anyone who hasn’t at least heard of the company. And yet, all good things must come to an end, apparently.
This past year has been… interesting to say the least and – I’m sorry. I can’t. I must be honest, Blizzard – if you’re reading this, it’s not me: it’s you. You used to be the one we’d turn to when we felt like no other big company listened. It seemed, for a while, that the motto of “we make great games” held fast and true. It’s with a heavy heart that we have to admit that such times may have come and gone.
It’s becoming more difficult to look at the Blizzard of today and see the same incredible studio that loomed large once before. It’s clear that big changes are underway, and there’s no telling for sure which way the course of the company will go. In the interest of remaining optimistic, however, we’re going to err on the side of how the undergoing changes can be good for Blizzard rather than harp about how the entire operation will devolve into a shitshow.
First, however, we must admit that even while Blizzard had more oversight and control over its products, it wasn’t making the best decisions. We’re not sure where they went wrong, but the last half-decade has been one instance of questionable business decision followed by another.
Blizzard’s old mentality of releasing one game and then supporting it for years on end just doesn’t work anymore. While there is sense in believing that games should be supported as long as humanly possible, a modern company cannot continue to stay relevant without putting out new content. If Blizzard wants to ensure that their staying power continues toward new generations of gamers, they need to be ready to play the new release game more often.
The last several years have seen the company release three new games back-to-back and then pump inordinate amounts of funds into eSports architecture in hopes that they can milk the cash cow that competitive gaming could be. However, their over-reliance on the promise of renumeration through the competitive scene has not turned out to be what they had hoped for – and signs that the grand machine is slowing have already begun to show.
Blizzard seemed to have severely misinterpreted the communities desire for competitive gaming scenes and found out the hard way that no number of bells and whistles can force the interest of a playerbase. As painful as this realization and the subsequent changes that need to be applied to the company may be, the only way out is through – and we’ll continue hoping that the Blizzard of tomorrow is something that we can all get excited about once again.