The future is looking pretty good for Blizzard according to the studio’s President Mike Ybarra, who says that he’s feeling confident about being part of the Xbox family. For those who may have missed it, Microsoft got approval for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. And that’s going to lead to some (hopefully) really positive changes for games coming from both companies.
Speaking to The Verge in a recent interview, Ybarra says that being under Xbox leadership is going to make Blizzard feel much more like an independent studio. “I think the way Spencer approaches building teams and focusing on culture and enabling creative freedom is going to give Blizzard a lot more of that sense of being an independent studio than ever before” said Ybarra.
What exactly does that mean? Ybarra doesn’t put it into simpler terms unfortunately. But that’s likely because it’s hard to know where things are going to end up when you can’t see the future. That being said, it sounds like Ybarra is suggesting that Blizzard will probably have more creative freedom in the development of its games going forward. And if that’s the case, that’s a really good thing for players. Because that opens the door for some potentially really cool stuff.
What a Blizzard future under Xbox could look like
It’s obvious there’s going to be some changes coming down the pipe from Microsoft. Ones that it will implement for Blizzard that the studio may not make if it were truly independent. It’s tough to say what those will be just yet though. According to Ybarra in his interview, Spencer and his team visited Blizzard recently. But the visit was more about meeting people at Blizzard as Spender “didn’t want to talk business.”
With that in mind, it’s hard to imagine entirely how Blizzard’s future operations will play out. However, if Ybarra feels like being under Microsoft and Xbox’s leadership will lead to feeling more like being an independent studio, then that paints the picture of promising things to come. Developers often have a vision for things in their games. Certain things done a certain way. Story beats playing out in specific ways. Those kinds of “creative freedoms” can be restricted to sometimes great degree. It all depends on who’s running the show.
And it would seem that Ybarra feels Spencer and his team will allow for more flourishing than under Activision’s old guard ran by the now outgoing Bobby Kotick. From a player perspective, that will hopefully lead to the most exciting days of its games since each one launched. Things are already looking a little exciting as is. With Blizzard having announced quite a bit of new content at its recent BlizzCon event. This includes Diablo IV’s first expansion, the next three World of Warcraft expansions, and the launch of Warcraft Rumble on Android and iOS devices.