Jen Oneal resigns as co-lead for Blizzard Entertainment, just three months after she took office. Since J. Allen Brack left the company in August, Oneal had been in charge of the studio with Mike Ybarra, who will now take the lead on his own. Oneal claims that she is not leaving because she is “without hope for Blizzard”, but wants to “do more to make games and diversity intersect, and hopefully have a broader industrial impact that will also benefit Blizzard ( and other studies).
Oneal and Ybarra starred in Blizzard back in August after former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack left the company. These changes came just two weeks after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for an alleged culture of sexual harassment and discrimination. Although worth noting, the exact reasons for Brack’s departure were never explicitly mentioned.
“I want you to hear from me personally that I have made the decision to step down from co-leading Blizzard Entertainment and will switch to a new position before leaving ABK at the end of the year,” Oneal said in a statement released last night. .
“I do not do this because I have no hope for Blizzard, on the contrary – I am inspired by the passion of everyone here who works towards meaningful, lasting change of their whole hearts. This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to get games and diversity to cross paths and hopefully have a broader industrial impact that will also benefit Blizzard (and other studies). Although I’m not quite sure what form it will take, I’m excited to embark on a new journey to find out. ”
She adds that Activision Blizzard has agreed to provide a $ 1 million grant (about £ 733,000, which is really not that much money) to Women in Games International (WIGI), a non-profit organization of which Oneal is a board member. For the rest of her time in the company, her new temporary role will work with ActiBlizz and WIGI on how the investment will be used, involving skills building funding and mentoring programs.
Oneal’s departure was also mentioned on the company’s investor call last night, with Mike Ybarra saying she had been an “incredible partner” and thanking her for her leadership.
“I want you to know that I believe so strongly in Mike and the rest of Blizzard’s leadership both in terms of Blizzard’s culture and Blizzard’s game,” Oneal continued. “Blizzard’s best days are ahead. I really believe in that.”
Those days seem pretty far away, if they come at all. During yesterday’s earnings call, the developer revealed that both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 have been delayed until at least 2023. It is also worth remembering that Activision Blizzard is involved in several other legal cases due to allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation on Company.