Blizzard, now a Microsoft subsidiary of course, has gone through something of a shake up in the last couple of weeks. And now the company has confirmed ex-Call of Duty boss Johanna Faries as its next head honcho, following the unexpected departure of Mike Ybarra last week. Faries, who previously spent 12 years working for the NFL, has been with Activision since 2018.
As Bloomberg reports, the move may be seen as somewhat unexpected, considering the historical tensions between Activision and Blizzard, despite them being part of the same overall organisation. Faries acknowledged this in a note to staff earlier in the week, noting “Activision, Blizzard, and King are decidedly different companies with distinct games, cultures, and communities”.
“It is important to note that Call of Duty’s way of waking up in the morning to deliver for players can often differ from the stunning games in Blizzard’s realm: each with different gameplay experiences, communities that surround them, and requisite models of success,” she stressed. “I’ve discussed this with the Blizzard leadership team and I’m walking into this role with sensitivity to those dynamics, and deep respect for Blizzard, as we begin to explore taking our universes to even higher heights.”
With Faries shifting over to Blizzard, Call of Duty’s current Vice President of Product Management Matt Cox will take over as head of that franchise. All of this is relevant to PlayStation, of course, because despite Microsoft’s eye-watering $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the publisher has committed to releasing at least Call of Duty on Sony’s consoles for the next ten years – and live service titles like Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 will continue to be updated on PS5 and PS4, too.