Initially founded in 1991 under the name of Silicon & Synapse, it wasn’t until three years later that the now popular game studio underwent a re-branding and emerged as Blizzard Entertainment. What started out as a simple California-based team of developers quickly turned into one of the biggest behemoths to ever grace the video game industry thanks to unique intellectual property, great storytelling, and gameplay that would appeal to all kinds of gamers and even draw in those who had never considered gaming a hobby. With Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, Blizzard has left a lasting impression in various genres including real-time strategy, action hack’n’slash, and fantasy roleplaying. Chances are you (yes, you!) grew up playing one of their games.
When Blizzard announced Hearthstone at PAX 2013, the studio introduced another flavor to their seemingly endless trail mix of games and franchises. Adding the free-to-play card game to their portfolio meant not only a different business model, but also a way to approach casual gamers. Up until that point, it was mostly hardcore and competitive players that enjoyed what Blizzard games had to offer. With Hearthstone, newbie players had just as much of a chance to join the community and stay in it for the long haul. By slowly expanding the collectible card game to both iOS and Android mobile devices, this was also the studio’s first gaming app. This way, players had the chance to play on the go and wherever they liked, making the Blizzard universe available to a bigger audience than ever before. The next step for Blizzard was clear: Which genre had they left untouched? Where else could they stake their claim and take over? Correct: MOBAs.
Most game studios are terrified of entering the genre that’s dominated mostly by League of Legends, Smite, and Dota 2. Not Blizzard, however. Why not combine the success of previous franchises and bring back the most iconic of all characters in a new universe? In Heroes of the Storm, players from all around the world can engage in action-packed online arena battles and work together with their friends towards a common goal in quick PvP matches. Slip into the role of heroes and villains you have learned to love and loathe over the past decade(s) and show off their impressive skills! The hero selection includes none other than Raynor, Kerrigan, Jaina, Thrall, Tyrael and Diablo himself. There’s something for everyone, especially since this game also follows a free-to-play business model.
Similar to Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, Blizzard is not just a studio that develops and publishes games. It’s almost become a lifestyle for many gamers, encouraging them to look forward to every new project that the team is working on. Knowing a game was crafted by the hands of Blizzard employees seems to be like a seal of approval these days. Just look at Overwatch for instance: From the moment that the free shooter was announced, fans have come together to celebrate the studio’s next big hit. How that pans out in the long run can naturally only be told in the future!