It’s been less than two weeks since Mike Ybarra left his post at Microsoft as the Vice President of Program Management for Xbox. Well it didn’t take him very long to find a new gig, as he has announced that he is joining Blizzard Entertainment. Ybarra states that he will officially begin his new duties on November 4, just two days after BlizzCon 2019, in which he will also be attending.
I’m very happy to announce I’m joining @Blizzard_Ent as Exec. Vice President and GM starting 11/4 (will be at #blizzcon!). We will work with all our energy to serve gamers with incredible content and experiences. I can’t wait to be part of this team. #lucky #humble #gamers #serve pic.twitter.com/kZ8dRuF3pe
— Mike Ybarra (@Qwik) October 24, 2019
Ybarra’s new and official titles will be Executive Vice President and General Manager, which means he’ll probably be in charge of several different projects as well as reporting to President J. Allen Brack. Honestly, it’s a great fit, as Ybarra’s time in the Xbox division greatly benefited the brand. From 2014 to 2019, Ybarra oversaw the Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass, and their online streaming website Mixer, all of which have gone onto grow exponentially. His departure after nearly 20 years at Microsoft surprised many, and although he didn’t exactly state why he left, this new venture with Blizzard might’ve been the main reason.
While everyone in the gaming community seems to be excited for him, Ybarra is potentially stepping into a bit of a hornets next with Blizzard. The company has arguably gone through the worst month of it’s 28 years history, all of which which began with the suspension of HearthStone player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai over supporting the protests in his native Hong Kong. Since then we’ve had people organize protests at the event, canceling a public launch event for Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch, and Congressman sending a Bipartisan letter to the CEO of Activision Blizzard requesting the full removal of blitzchung’s ban.
It’s been an uphill struggle, and while BlizzCon 2019 might bring the company back in the good graces of the it’s fans, this is easily something that won’t ever be forgotten. As we mentioned earlier, Ybarra isn’t assuming his new job until after BlizzCon 2019, but he’s more than aware of the situation. How he handles it remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to watch it all unfold in the next couple of weeks. Who knows, maybe he’ll make a surprise appearance on the stage of the Opening Ceremony.
Speaking of which, BlizzCon 2019 will go from November 1, Friday, through November 2, Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. We’ll be attending BlizzCon and reporting on all of the reveals and announcements directly, so keep an eye out for that when the convention starts!