Mike Ybarra speaks to players and reflects on recent events at Blizzard

In an article published just now on the official site, Mike Ybarra speaks to players and discusses recent events that have taken place at Blizzard. This one will also come back to future announcements next week. Find his message now below.

Update 00:15: Addition of a French translation.

I’m honored to be a part of Blizzard Entertainment, the rich history, the amazing talent, the best gaming communities, and of course, the awesome games we’re so lucky to create. I’ve been leading Blizzard for a few months now, and in addition to this week’s exciting news, I want to share some initial thoughts as we strive to put our teams and players at the forefront of everything we do.

2021 has been difficult for all of us. As individuals, we care about treating everyone around us with respect and dignity. As professionals, we care deeply about our creations and want to work in the most supportive and safe environment possible. Our first priority – now and in the future – is the work we do to rebuild your trust in Blizzard.

Seeing Blizzard work as creatively and diligently as we have through this difficult time (in addition to the current pandemic) has been inspiring. Navigating through these challenges, evolving our development processes, introspecting, and seeing how we can improve our culture shows incredible strength and commitment to everyone, our work, and the player communities.

I was also encouraged to read forums, social media posts, and emails from people inside and outside of Blizzard, stand up for what is right, and seek your guidance. I want you all to know that we are listening, and we are committed to change. As a first step in improving communication with the community, I want to highlight some of the initial actions we are taking to improve our culture:

  • We measure our leadership and management teams directly against culture improvement. This means that their (and my own) success and compensation will directly depend on our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive, and creative work environment at Blizzard.
  • We dedicate full-time roles and resources to improving our culture. All too often, this important effort falls on groups of employees, containing people who already have full-time jobs. Some of the leadership positions we have established for this new team include:
    • A cultural leader who will help us maintain the best aspects of what we have today, and change and evolve where necessary to ensure everyone brings their best to Blizzard.
    • A new organizational leader for human resources who will build trust, empower teams, and help foster a safe and positive work environment for everyone.
    • A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) leader uniquely focused on our progress through multiple efforts in this area.
  • We are committed to setting up these teams as a priority.
  • We have tripled the size of our compliance and investigation teams and have clear and articulated accountability for unacceptable behavior. This applies to all Blizzard employees, including leadership and management.
  • We have shared representation data internally with our teams and have targets for improving these rates.
  • We have implemented a feedback program so that employees have confidence in surveys, and we will use this to measure the quality and effectiveness of our managers.

These actions are just the beginning of our work ahead of us for Blizzard. I am motivated and enthusiastic to work directly to build the best environment for our teams, and enable them to bring their vision to life.

We also know that we need to deliver content to our players on a more regular basis and innovate both inside and outside of our existing games. We have some exciting things to announce, and I’ll talk more about them next week.

I want to thank our incredible communities and teams for your devotion and guidance, which will always be our northern star.

Towards an incredible year 2022 and beyond.

Mike ‘Qwik’ Ybarra

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