Former Xbox exec Mike Ybarra joins Blizzard as EVP and GM
Ybarra confirms new role following 20 years at Microsoft
Former Xbox executive Mike Ybarra has announced he’s joining Blizzard as executive vice president and general manager.
In a statement on Twitter, Ybarra said he’ll start his new role on November 4 after attending BlizzCon at the beginning of next month.
“We will work with all our energy to serve gamers with incredible content and experiences,” he said. “I can’t wait to be part of this team.”
Ybarra announced he was leaving Microsoft earlier this month. He joined the company as a system engineer in June 2000 and held various roles over the last two decades, including GM of Windows and Xbox Live, partner studio manager for Xbox Studios and corporate VP of program management for the Xbox platform.
He joins Blizzard during a challenging period for the company, which has come under fire for banning several Hearthstone esports players who expressed support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement during tournaments.
In response to Blizzard’s actions, digital rights non-profit organisation Fight for the Future is planning to stage an “epic day of protest with hundreds of other gamers who care” outside the Anaheim Convention Center on November 1, the first day of BlizzCon.
Blizzard recently published the schedule for BlizzCon, which will include updates on World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Hearthstone, alongside several art and design developer sessions, esports tournaments and a cosplay exhibition.
The schedule for the event also includes six 45-minute “coming soon” slots which have done little to dampen speculation it’s preparing to announce some new games, possibly Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4.
Two of Blizzard’s three co-founders, Frank Pearce and Mike Morhaime, left the company earlier this year.