Blizzard Entertainment is a household name in the eSports industry, and perhaps America’s crown jewel when it comes to game developers. With 29 years of developing games, the company has thrived where others have failed and created avenues that have led to the birth and growth of the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game niche.
The story of Blizzard is one that captures the spirit of teamwork, unrelenting will to succeed and an element of sacrifice. Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce, and Allen Adham had just graduated from the University of California when they formed the company and named it Silicon & Synapse, Inc.
The company made a name for its self after the success of their two major games Rock n’ Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. As the company continued to find its footing, it rebranded to Chaos Studio, but due to the capital intensive nature of game development, they would move from one corporate owner to another, as they seek to focus more on quality. It is this drive that would land them under Davidson & Associates (1994–1998) and Vivendi Games (1998–2008). Vivendi games would in 2008 merge with Activision to form Activision Blizzard, to which now Blizzard Entertainment is a subsidiary.
Blizzard has earned billions of dollars from sales of its games. Its flagship brand, Warcraft, even became a blockbuster film in 2016. If you doubt Blizzard prowess, then you just have to see how the world responded to the news there would be no Heroes of the Storm Global Championship in 2019. This was of similar impact as not having an EA Sports FIFA World Championship this year.
How Blizzard Changed MOBA Games
There’s no doubt that MOBA is the hottest game genre ever witnessed in the world. While it has millions of players and fans across the globe, not many know that it all started with a simple map, and at the center of this map was Blizzard.
That was 21 years ago when Blizzard released its flagship real-time strategy game StarCraft. The game was unique as it allowed modding, and people so were able to design, create and customize their own maps. A person under the code name Aeon64 would then design a map and name it Aeon of Strife, the infamous custom map that inspired the whole MOBA games.
In 2002 after Blizzard released its Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, another user modified the Aeon of Strife to come up with the Defense of the Ancients (DotA) that forms the basis for Heroes of the Storm and many other new titles which now draw millions of players.
It would be interesting to note that though Blizzard helped create the MOBA games, it was not until June 2, 2015 that it joined the market with a true MOBA game, Heroes of the Storm, which brings together all heroes from its franchises including Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, The Lost Vikings, and Overwatch.
In general, Blizzard focuses mainly on its three series Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Diablo, and StarCraft, and its latest title Overwatch (2016). Nonetheless, the company has 19 games to its name.
Blizzard has curved its place in the gaming industry as the role-playing and strategy game specialists. Gamers trust that if it is coming from Blizzard then it is more than just another video game.