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Blizzard boss lays out plan to “rebuild trust”

“2021 was challenging for all of us.”

Mike Ybarra, boss of Blizzard, has released a blog post laying out the steps he says will “rebuild trust” in the developer following the reports of toxic workplace culture and sexual harassment which emerged last summer.

Ybarra is now Blizzard’s sole leader following the departure of former co-head Jen Oneal, who resigned from her role after only a couple of months.

“2021 was challenging for all of us,” Ybarra wrote, in his first public message this year. “As individuals, we care about treating everyone around us with respect and dignity. As professionals, we care deeply about our crafts, and we want to work in the most supportive and safe environment possible.

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“Our top priority – now and into the future – is the work we are doing to rebuild your trust in Blizzard.”

Managers and top brass at Blizzard will now see their success and pay measured against creating a “safe, inclusive and creative” work environment, Ybarra said. Meanwhile, an “upward feedback program” will allow employees to evaluate management.

The company has added a new full-time “culture leader”, a new HR leader, plus a new diversity and inclusion leader. It has also tripled its compliance and investigation teams, shared representation data and set goals for improvement.

Finally, Ybarra concluded he was aware Blizzard needed to “deliver content to our players on a more regular basis and innovate both in and beyond our existing games”.

“We have some exciting things to announce, and I’ll be sharing more next week,” he teased.

Blizzard’s upcoming game slate includes Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 – but both have been delayed to 2023 at the earliest.

Earlier this month, Lego said it had indefinitely suspended the release of its Overwatch 2 Titan set, initially scheduled to launch on 1st February, in light of ongoing concerns related to Activision Blizzard’s workplace culture.

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