What is Blizzard Entertainment?
Mark Register explains it all
Blizzard Entertainment is a video game developer under parent company Activision Blizzard worth $18BB, who provided the game engine & games to launch the world of Esports in South Korea, and continues to help build the infrastructure with their year round Warcraft, Starcraft, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch tournament leagues providing millions in prize pools culminating at their annual Blizzcon events.
From 1991 to 2008 Blizzard Entertainment was a small subsidiary in a larger conglomerate in a whirlwind of mergers and acquisitions, but damn the torpedos, they like Pixar focused on making a product they believed in, only distributing when they were fully developed regardless of budgets or deadlines and it paid off. Blizzard broke every every PC Game record with every game release, paving the way for multiplayer matchmaking with battle.net which allowed users to create cutom maps which provided the engine to build Defense of the Ancients which went on to become Dota 2, League of Legends, and the entire Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre (for more on that watch our “what is Dota video”) between that and Starcraft, Blizzard gave birth to Esports in South Korea.
For the business part of our story it all starts with Silicon & Synapse founded in 1991 by Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce, and Allen Adham porting games, which means converting games like Lord of the Rings from one platform to another then began development of original content in 1993 with Rock n’ Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings using Interplay Productions to publish them. In 1994 they released Blackthorne for SNES, became Chaos Studios then Blizzard Entertainment after being acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates for $6.7MM and released Warcraft: Orcs & Humans which allowed multiplayer gameplay over modem or LAN. In 1995 they released Warcraft II. In 1996 Blizzard acquired Condor Games a developer working on a game called Diablo which they released that year and renamed them Blizzard North. That same year Davidson and Sierra On-Line got acquired by CUC International, CUC merged with HFS Corporations renaming the merged company Cendant in 1997. In 1998 Starcraft was released, CUC gets caught for accounting fraud, Cendant stock goes down 80% so they sold off Davidson & Associates, Knowledge Adventure, Sierra, and Blizzard to French publisher Havas for $800MM, then Havas is bought by Vivendi and put under their Vivendi Games Group division. In 2004 World of Warcraft is released. In 2008 Vivendi Games which owned Blizzard merged with Activision, which paid off when World of Warcraft alone totalled an estimated $14BB in revenue with 12MM subscribers by 2013 which was the year Activision Blizzard bought 429MM shares from Vivendi allowing Activision Blizzard to be independent of Vivendi. In 2014 Hearthstone is released bringing in $240MM a year, 2015 Heroes of the Storm is released and in 2016 Overwatch.
Think of this video as a table of contents for your further exploration into the world of Blizzard and if you are a gamer, give thanks and blessings to the Blizzard individuals and teams that built the world we play in.
Blizzard Entertainment, the reason Esports exists and my left mouse button doesn’t work.