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High profile employees leaving blizzard

The unexpected departure of Overwatch League’s commissioner Nate Nanzer turned to be an outset for more experienced employees seeking to leave Activision Blizzard. While the company is still recovering from the devastating loss to Epic Games, recent news indicates more employees leaving before the end of summer. Amongst the list is the name of the Global Product Director of Esports at Blizzard Entertainment, Kim Phan. We will be taking a closer look at what might be the cause of the sudden change, and I will be providing an opinion of my own on this matter.

Why are high profile employees leaving Activision Blizzard?

Experienced employees leaving Blizzard

Last week has seen Overwatch League’s commissioner Nate Nanzer leave Activision Blizzard in favor of joining Epic Games. Still, this did not seem strange at first. Considering his expertise, he received a golden opportunity to work on the Rocket League and the upcoming Fortnite World Cup finals in New York. Although the seriousness of his departure might have been overlooked, the news of Kim Phan following his footsteps suggests a different story.


Being with the company for over 13 years, Kim Phan has witnessed the organization grow from Warcraft 3 to Overwatch. As the Global Product Director for Blizzard Esports, Kim is overseeing franchises and serving as one of the senior leaders of the team. So, what needed to occur for her to consider departure? Producing an answer to this could be difficult, as she is yet to open to the public on this matter.

Kim Phan Leaving Blizzard

However, there were events in the company that indicated everything was going from bad to worst and may produce an answer to why are employees like Kim leaving Blizzard.

Not to be mistaken, Activision Blizzard has seen better days with its workers. The company has suffered heavy criticism lately, and the morale of the staff is at an all-time low. A few months earlier, over 200 employees were sacked from their jobs, as Activision Blizzard undertook to restructure the company.

Despite this, many are left to believe that this is not the actual reason for the recent departures. All signs are pointed at the CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues Pete Vlastelica.

Who is Pete Vlastelica?

Pete Vlastelica serves as the President and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues and has come to the position after leaving FOX Sports in 2016.

Considering that he did not come from the gaming market, his decision making did not earn the thrust of many employees surrounding him. Implementing a vision more linked to televised sports, developers feel there is an outgoing estrangement with the community. During this year’s Overwatch Anniversary, we have seen the event being put aside in favor of the OWL All-Stars.

Employees departing from Blizzard

Image credits: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The future will see spectators of 400 million tuning in to see Esports competitions. Taking that into consideration, I can understand why companies like Blizzard are looking to bring in personnel experienced in the media market. However, If the only goal is to make a business out of the community, commercializing the Esports, no time will pass before everyone who holds games dear to themselves will leave.

What would then become of the activity of those who opposed such an approach? And if to satisfy the lust for commercialization they have to put up with incompetent visions, no wonder employees are voluntarily leaving Activision Blizzard.


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