Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, California, and is a subsidiary of the American company Activision Blizzard. The company was founded on February 8, 1991, under the name Silicon & Synapse, Inc. by three graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles:[2] Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce and Allen Adham. The company originally concentrated on the creation of game ports for other studios' games before beginning development of their own software in 1993 with games like Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. In 1994 the company became Chaos Studios, Inc., then Blizzard Entertainment after being acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates.

Shortly thereafter, Blizzard released Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. Blizzard created several other video games, including Warcraft sequels, the Diablo series, the StarCraft series, and in 2004 the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. Their most recent projects include the first expansion for Diablo III, Reaper of Souls, the online collectible card game Hearthstone, the seventh expansion for World of Warcraft, Battle for Azeroth, the multiplayer online battle arena Heroes of the Storm, the third and final expansion for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Legacy of the Void, and the multiplayer first-person hero shooter Overwatch.

On July 9, 2008, Activision merged with Vivendi Games, culminating in the inclusion of the Blizzard brand name in the title of the resulting holding company.[3] On July 25, 2013, Activision Blizzard announced the purchase of 429 million shares from majority owner Vivendi. As a result, Activision Blizzard became a completely independent company.[4]

Blizzard Entertainment hosts conventions for fans to meet and to promote their games: the BlizzCon in California, United States, and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in other countries, including South Korea and France.

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Formerly
  • Silicon & Synapse, Inc.
  • (1991–1993)
  • Chaos Studios, Inc.
  • (1993–1994)
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
FoundedFebruary 8, 1991
Founders
Headquarters,
U.S.
Number of locations
9 studios and offices
Key people
Products
Number of employees
Increase 4,700[1] (2012)
Parent
Websiteblizzard.com

History

Blizzard Entertainment was founded by Michael Morhaime, Allen Adham, and Frank Pearce as Silicon & Synapse on February 8, 1991, a year after all three had received their bachelor's degrees from UCLA.[5][2] To fund the company, each of them contributed about $10,000, which in the case of Morhaime, he got as part of an interest-free loan from his grandmother.[6] During the first two years, the company focused on creating game ports for other studios. Ports include titles such as J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I and Battle Chess II: Chinese Chess.[7][8] In 1993, the company developed games such as Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings (published by Interplay Productions).

In early 1994, they were acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates for $6.75 million ($11.4 million today).[9] In May that year, Chaos Studios was renamed Blizzard Entertainment, citing that they could not pay the rights to use the name, as it was owned by New York-based Chaos Technologies.[10] Shortly thereafter, Blizzard shipped their breakthrough hit Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.

Blizzard has changed hands several times since then. Davidson was acquired along with Sierra On-Line by a company called CUC International in 1996. CUC then merged with a hotel, real-estate, and car-rental franchiser called HFS Corporation to form Cendant in 1997. In 1998 it became apparent that CUC had engaged in accounting fraud for years before the merger. Cendant's stock lost 80% of its value over the next six months in the ensuing widely discussed accounting scandal. The company sold its consumer software operations, Sierra On-line (which included Blizzard) to French publisher Havas in 1998, the same year Havas was purchased by Vivendi. Blizzard was part of the Vivendi Games group of Vivendi. In July 2008 Vivendi Games merged with Activision, using Blizzard's name in the resulting company, Activision Blizzard.

In 1996, Blizzard acquired Condor Games, which had been working on the game Diablo for Blizzard at the time. Condor was renamed Blizzard North, and has since developed the games Diablo, Diablo II, and its expansion pack Lord of Destruction. Blizzard North was located in San Mateo, California. The company originated in Redwood City, California.

Blizzard launched their online gaming service Battle.net in January 1997 with the release of their action role-playing game Diablo. In 2002, Blizzard was able to reacquire rights for three of its earlier Silicon & Synapse titles, The Lost Vikings, Rock n' Roll Racing and Blackthorne, from Interplay Entertainment and re-release them for Game Boy Advance, a handheld console.[11] In 2004, Blizzard opened European offices in the Paris suburb of Vélizy, Yvelines, France. On May 16, 2005, Blizzard announced the acquisition of Swingin' Ape Studios, a video game developer which had been developing StarCraft: Ghost. The company was then merged into Blizzard's other teams after StarCraft: Ghost was "postponed indefinitely". On August 1, 2005, Blizzard announced the consolidation of Blizzard North into the headquarters at 131 Theory in UC Irvine's University Research Park in Irvine, California. In 2007, Blizzard moved their headquarters to 16215 Alton Parkway in Irvine, California.

On November 23, 2004, Blizzard released World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. World of Warcraft is the fourth released game set in the fantasy Warcraft universe, which was first introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994.[12] Blizzard announced World of Warcraft on September 2, 2001.[13] The game was released on November 23, 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise.

Having peaked at 12 million monthly subscriptions in 2010, World of Warcraft subscriptions sunk to 6.8 million in 2014, the lowest number since the end of 2006, prior to The Burning Crusade expansion.[14][15][16] However, World of Warcraft is still the world's most-subscribed MMORPG,[17][18][19] and holds the Guinness World Record for the most popular MMORPG by subscribers.[20][21][22][23] In April 2008, World of Warcraft was estimated to hold 62 percent of the MMORPG subscription market.[24] In 2008, Blizzard was honored at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for the creation of World of Warcraft. Mike Morhaime accepted the award.[25][26]

In 2012 Blizzard had 4,700 employees,[1] with offices across 11 cities including Austin, Texas, and countries around the globe. As of June 2015, the company's headquarters in Irvine, California had 2,622 employees.[27]

Blizzard announced in September 2017 that it had acquired a studio at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California, that will convert into the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, featuring multiple sound stages, control rooms, practice facilities, a merchandise store, and seating for up to 450 spectators. Blizzard will use the venue to support its various eSports, starting with the Overwatch Contenders Season One in October 2017. Blizzard presently plans to use this only for their events but may allow other eSports leagues to use it in the future.[28]

On October 3, 2018, Mike Morhaime announced he was stepping down as the company president and CEO, but will still remain an advisor to the company. Morhaime was replaced by J. Allen Brack, the executive producer on World of Warcraft.[29] In January 2019 it was announced that Morhaime would leave the company on April 7, 2019.[30]

Games

Blizzard Entertainment has developed 19 games since 1991, in addition to developing 8 ports between 1992 and 1993; 11 of those games are in the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft series. Since the release of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994), Diablo (1996), and StarCraft (1998), Blizzard has focused almost exclusively on those three series. The sole exception has been the company's latest title, Overwatch (2016).

Main franchises

Currently, Blizzard has four main franchises: Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, and Overwatch. Each franchise is supported by other media based around its intellectual property such as novels, collectible card games, comics and video shorts. Blizzard Entertainment announced in 2006 that they would be producing a Warcraft live-action movie. The movie was directed by Duncan Jones, financed and produced by Legendary Pictures, Atlas Entertainment, and others, and distributed by Universal Pictures.[31] It was released in June 2016.

Unreleased games

Notable unreleased titles include Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, which was canceled on May 22, 1998, Shattered Nations, and StarCraft: Ghost, which was "Postponed indefinitely" on March 24, 2006 after being in development hell for much of its lifespan. After seven years of development, Blizzard revealed the cancellation of an unannounced MMO codenamed "Titan" on September 23, 2014.[32] The company also has a history of declining to set release dates, choosing to instead take as much time as needed, generally saying a given product is "done when it's done."[33]

Pax Imperia II was originally announced as a title to be published by Blizzard. Blizzard eventually dropped Pax Imperia II, though, when it decided it might be in conflict with their other space strategy project, which became known as StarCraft. THQ eventually contracted with Heliotrope and released the game in 1997 as Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain.

Technology

Warden client

Blizzard has made use of a special form of software known as the 'Warden Client'. The Warden client is known to be used with Blizzard's online games such as Diablo and World of Warcraft, and the Terms of Service contain a clause consenting to the Warden software's RAM scans while a Blizzard game is running.[34]

The Warden client scans a small portion of the code segment of running processes in order to determine whether any third-party programs are running. The goal of this is to detect and address players who may be attempting to run unsigned code or third party programs in the game. This determination of third party programs is made by hashing the scanned strings and comparing the hashed value to a list of hashes assumed to correspond to banned third party programs.[35] The Warden's reliability in correctly discerning legitimate versus illegitimate actions was called into question when a large scale incident happened. This incident banned many Linux users after an update to Warden caused it to incorrectly detect Cedega as a cheat program.[36] Blizzard issued a statement claiming they had correctly identified and restored all accounts and credited them with 20 days play.[37] Warden scans all processes running on a computer, not just the game, and could possibly run across what would be considered private information and other personally identifiable information. It is because of these peripheral scans that Warden has been accused of being spyware and has run afoul of controversy among privacy advocates.[38][39][40]

Battle.net 2.0

Blizzard released its revamped Battle.net service in 2009. This service allows people who have purchased Blizzard products (StarCraft, StarCraft II, Diablo II, and Warcraft III, as well as their expansions) to download digital copies of games they have purchased, without needing any physical media.

On November 11, 2009, Blizzard required all World of Warcraft accounts to switch over to Battle.net accounts. This transition means that all current Blizzard titles can be accessed, downloaded, and played with a singular Battle.net login.[41]

Battle.net 2.0 is the platform for matchmaking service for Blizzard games, which offers players a host of additional features. Players are able to track their friend's achievements, view match history, avatars, etc. Players are able to unlock a wide range of achievements (rewards for completing game content) for Blizzard games.

The service allows players to chat simultaneously with players from other Blizzard games. For example, players no longer need to create multiple user names or accounts for most Blizzard products. To enable cross game communication, players need to become either Battletag or Real ID friends.

Privacy controversy and Real ID

On July 6, 2010, Blizzard announced that they were changing the way their forums worked to require that users identify themselves with their real name.[42][43] The reaction from the community was overwhelmingly negative with multiple game magazines calling the change "foolhardy"[44] and an "epic fail".[45] It resulted in a significant user response on the Blizzard forums, including one thread on the issue reaching over 11,000 replies.[46][47][48][49][50] This included personal details of a Blizzard employee who gave his real name "to show it wasn't a big deal".[51] Shortly after revealing his real name, forum users posted personal information including his phone number, picture, age, and home address.[46]

Some technology media outlets suggested that displaying real names through Real ID is a good idea and would benefit both Battle.net and the Blizzard community.[52] But others were worried that Blizzard was opening their fans up to real-life dangers such as stalking, harassment, and employment issues, since a simple Internet search by someone's employer can reveal their online activities.[46][53][54][55]

Blizzard initially responded to some of the concerns by saying that the changes would not be retroactive to previous posts, that parents could set up the system so that minors cannot post, and that posting to the forums is optional.[56] However, due to the huge negative response, Blizzard President Michael Morhaime issued a statement rescinding the plan to use real names on Blizzard's forums for the time being.[57] The idea behind this plan was to allow players who had a relationship outside of the games to find each other easier across all the Blizzard game titles. They also planned to add several other features designed to make reading the forums more enjoyable and to empower players with tools to improve the quality of forum discussions. [58][59]

Apart from the negative side effects of Real ID relating to privacy, the addition boasts features for current Blizzard titles. For instance, real names for friends, cross-realm and cross-game chat, rich presence and broadcasts are included with the Real ID system.[60]

Legal disputes

StarCraft privacy lawsuit

In 1998, Donald P. Driscoll, an Albany, California attorney filed a suit on behalf of Intervention, Inc., a California consumer group against Blizzard Entertainment for "unlawful business practices" for the action of collecting data from a user's computer without their permission.[61][62]

FreeCraft

On June 20, 2003, Blizzard issued a cease and desist letter to the developers of an open-source clone of the Warcraft engine called FreeCraft, claiming trademark infringement. This hobby project had the same gameplay and characters as Warcraft II, but came with different graphics and music.

As well as a similar name, FreeCraft enabled gamers to use Warcraft II graphics, provided they had the Warcraft II CD. The programmers of the clone shut down their site without challenge. Soon after that the developers regrouped to continue the work by the name of Stratagus.[63]

World of Warcraft private server complications

On December 5, 2008, Blizzard issued a cease and desist letter to many administrators of high population World of Warcraft private servers (essentially slightly altered hosting servers of the actual World of Warcraft game, that players do not have to pay for). Blizzard used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to influence many private servers to fully shut down and cease to exist.[64]

Founder Electronics infringement lawsuit

On August 14, 2007, Beijing University Founder Electronics Co., Ltd. sued Blizzard Entertainment Limited for copyright infringement claiming 100 million yuan in damages. The lawsuit alleged the Chinese edition of World of Warcraft reproduced a number of Chinese typefaces made by Founder Electronics without permission.[65]

MDY Industries, LLC v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

On July 14, 2008, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona ruled on the case MDY Industries, LLC v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.. The Court found that MDY was liable for copyright infringement since users of its Glider bot program were breaking the End User License Agreement and Terms of Use for World of Warcraft. MDY Industries appealed the judgment of the district court, and a judgment was delivered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 14, 2010, in which the summary judgment against MDY for contributory copyright infringement was reversed.[66][67] Nevertheless, they ruled that the bot violated the DMCA and the case was sent back to the district court for review in light of this decision.[68][69]

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. v. Valve Corporation

Shortly after Valve Corporation filed its trademark for "Dota" to secure the franchising rights for Dota 2, DotA-Allstars, LLC, run by former contributors to the games's predecessor, Defense of the Ancients, filed an opposing trademark in August 2010.[70] DotA All-Stars, LLC was sold to Blizzard Entertainment in 2011. After the opposition was over-ruled in Valve's favor, Blizzard filed an opposition against Valve in November 2011, citing their license agreement with developers, as well as their ownership of DotA-Allstars, LLC.[71] Blizzard conceded their case in May 2012, however, giving Valve undisputed commercial rights to Dota, while Blizzard would rename their StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm mod "Blizzard All-Stars", which would become the stand-alone game, Heroes of the Storm.[72]

Related companies

Over the years, some former Blizzard employees have moved on and established gaming companies of their own:

See also

References

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External links

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard, Inc. is an American video game and film holding company based in Santa Monica, California. The company was founded in July 2008 through the merger of Activision and Vivendi Games, the company is traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol ATVI, and since 2015 has been one of the stocks that make up the S&P 500. Activision Blizzard currently includes five business units: Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, Major League Gaming, Activision Blizzard Studios, and King.The company owns and operates additional studios under an independent studios model, including Treyarch, Infinity Ward, High Moon Studios and Toys for Bob, and its titles have broken a number of release records. Call of Duty: Black Ops III grossed $550 million in worldwide sales during its opening weekend in 2015, making it the biggest entertainment launch of the year. The company's franchises also include Activision's Call of Duty, and Skylanders; Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch; and King's Candy Crush Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, and Farm Heroes Saga. As of March 2018, it is the largest game company in the Americas and Europe in terms of revenue and market capitalization.

BlizzCon

BlizzCon is an annual gaming convention held by Blizzard Entertainment to promote its major franchises Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. The first BlizzCon was held in October 2005 and since then all of conventions have been held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, in the same metropolitan area as Blizzard's headquarters in Irvine. The convention features game-related announcements, previews of upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games and content, Q&A sessions and panels, costume contests and playable versions of various Blizzard games. The closing night has featured concerts by The Offspring, Tenacious D, Foo Fighters, Ozzy Osbourne, Blink-182, Metallica, Linkin Park, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and Muse. A similar event was the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, held outside the U.S. from 2004–2008.

Blizzard North

Blizzard North was the Bay Area division of Blizzard Entertainment, known for its Diablo series. The studio was originally based in Redwood City, California, before moving a short distance away to San Mateo, with Blizzard proper being based in Irvine, southern California.

Chris Metzen

Christopher Vincent Metzen (born November 22, 1973) is an American game designer, artist, voice actor, and author known for his work creating the fictional universes and scripts for Blizzard Entertainment's three major award-winning media franchises: Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft. On occasion, Metzen has published his art under the alias "Thundergod." Metzen was hired by Blizzard Entertainment as an animator and an artist; his first work for the company was with the video game Justice League Task Force.Metzen was the Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development at Blizzard Entertainment and assisted the company's projects by providing voice talent for a number of characters, as well as contributing to artistic character design. Outside Blizzard Entertainment, Metzen authored a graphic novel series based on a futuristic second American civil war. Metzen retired in September 2016 to spend more time with his family.

In his most recent work, Metzen co-authored graphic novels, Transformers: Autocracy and Transformers Monstrosity with author Flint Dille and artist Livio Ramondelli.

Greg Street

Greg Street is an American video game designer and Head of Creative Development for Riot Games.Street was previously employed by Blizzard Entertainment as Lead Systems Designer on the award-winning MMORPG World of Warcraft, and is also known by his screen name "Ghostcrawler" on the World of Warcraft forums and his own Twitter account. Prior to being employed by Blizzard, Street worked as a marine biologist, eventually moving into the game design field. He also worked with Ensemble Studios on the Age of Empires series of real-time strategy games, during which period he was also known by the screen name "Deathshrimp".In November 2013 he announced on his personal Facebook that he was leaving Blizzard Entertainment to pursue a "great opportunity for something new and exciting."On 14 January 2014, it was announced that Greg Street had become the Lead Game Designer for Riot Games.

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and macOS, which released on June 2, 2015. The game features heroes from Blizzard's franchises including Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, The Lost Vikings, and Overwatch. The game uses both free-to-play and freemium models and is supported by micropayments, which can be used to purchase heroes, visual alterations for the heroes in the game, and mounts. Blizzard does not call the game a "multiplayer online battle arena" or an "action real-time strategy" because they feel it is something different with a broader playstyle; they refer to it as an online "hero brawler". At the end of 2018, Blizzard announced that game was being transitioned to a long-term support plan, with some staff members moved to other projects and its official tournament circuit cancelled.

Jeff Kaplan

Jeffrey Kaplan is an American video game designer who is vice president of Blizzard Entertainment. He designed elements of World of Warcraft and is the lead designer on Overwatch.

List of Blizzard Entertainment games

Blizzard Entertainment is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, California. The company was founded in February 1991 under the name Silicon & Synapse by Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce and Allen Adham. The company initially concentrated on porting other studio's games to computer platforms, as well RPM Racing (1991), a remake of Racing Destruction Set (1985). In 1992, however, the company began producing original games for home consoles with The Lost Vikings (1992) and Rock n' Roll Racing (1993), and beginning with Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994) it shifted to primarily focus on original computer games. The company was renamed to Blizzard Entertainment in 1994, and in 1996 the company Condor, then developing Diablo (1996), was merged with Blizzard and renamed to Blizzard North; it remained a separate studio for the company until it was closed in 2005.Blizzard was acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates in 1994, and a chain of acquisitions over the next four years led Blizzard to being a part of Vivendi Games, a subsidiary of Vivendi; when Vivendi Games merged with Activision in 2008 the resulting company was named Activision Blizzard. The name was retained when Activision Blizzard became an independent company in 2013, while Blizzard itself has been an independent subsidiary company throughout.Since the release of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft (1998), Blizzard has focused almost exclusively on the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft series. The sole exception has been the company's latest title, Overwatch (2016). All of Blizzard's games released since 2004 still receive expansions and updates, especially the long-running massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft (2004). With over 100 million lifetime accounts as of 2014 and US$9 billion in revenue as of 2017, World of Warcraft is one of the best-selling computer games and highest-grossing video games of all time. Blizzard Entertainment has developed 19 games since 1991 as of 2018, in addition to developing 8 ports between 1992 and 1993; 11 of those games are in the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft series.

List of StarCraft media

StarCraft is a science fiction media franchise made up of real-time strategy video games developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. The series has several games which carry the main story arc: StarCraft, its expansion pack StarCraft: Brood War, and the trilogy StarCraft II. In addition, the series incorporates media that include spin-off video games, tabletop games, novelizations, graphic novels, and other literature. A variety of toys have also been produced. Set in the 26th century, the series revolves around three species fighting for dominance in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy: the Terrans, humans exiled from Earth who are adept at adapting to any situation; the Zerg, a race of insectoids obsessed with the pursuit of genetic perfection through the assimilation of other races; and the Protoss, a humanoid species with advanced technology and psionic abilities attempting to preserve from the Zerg both their civilization and strict philosophical way of living.Conceived by Chris Metzen and James Phinney, the StarCraft series has been a commercial and critical success. The first game, StarCraft, is regarded as being highly influential in the real-time strategy genre. Combined with its official expansion, Brood War, over 10 million copies of StarCraft have been sold globally. StarCraft remains one of the most popular online games in the world; Blizzard Entertainment reported an 800 percent increase in Battle.net service usage after the game's release in 1998. The series is particularly popular in South Korea, where a successful electronic sports scene has been established.

Michael Morhaime

Michael "Mike" Morhaime (born November 3, 1967) is a co-founder and the former president of Blizzard Entertainment (founded in 1991 as Silicon & Synapse), a video game developer located in Irvine, California, owned by Activision Blizzard. Morhaime served as President of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. He served on the Vivendi Games executive committee since January 1999, when Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. became a subsidiary of Vivendi Games. He graduated from Granada Hills High School in 1985. He is also an alumnus of Triangle Fraternity and received his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering in 1990 from UCLA. He is a member of ETC, a metal band formed of and by Blizzard Employees, where he plays bass guitar.

Rob Pardo

Rob Pardo (born June 9, 1970) was the Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard Entertainment, resigning on July 3, 2014. Previously he was the Executive Vice President of Game Design at Blizzard Entertainment, and prior to that the lead designer of World of Warcraft. In 2006, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.Pardo founded Bonfire Studios in 2016. He raised $25 million from Andreessen Horowitz and Riot Games.

Russell Brower

Russell Brower is an American music composer and three-time Emmy Award-winning sound designer who has created sounds for Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs and Batman: The Animated Series, and video game music for games including Joint Operations, World of Warcraft, Starcraft II and Diablo III. He was previously the Director of Audio/Video for Blizzard Entertainment, the sound designer/editor at Warner Bros. Animation and DiC Entertainment, the Audio Director at NovaLogic, and the Principal Media Designer and Music Director at Walt Disney Imagineering."Invincible", from his score for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, made its first appearance in the Classic FM Hall of Fame Top 300 in April 2014 at no 52. It was Brower's first appearance in the Hall of Fame.On July 21, 2017, he announced that his position as the Sr. Audio Director/Composer at Blizzard Entertainment was eliminated. While no longer employed by Blizzard, he stated there is an excellent chance he will return on future projects for Blizzard as a freelance composer.

Sam Lantinga

Sam Oscar Lantinga is a computer programmer. He used to be the lead software engineer at Blizzard Entertainment, where he was known to the community as Slouken. He is best known as the creator of the Simple DirectMedia Layer, a very popular open source multimedia programming library, and also developed the compatibility database for Executor, a proprietary Mac OS emulator.He was the lead programmer and a co-founder of the now-defunct Loki Software, which ported several game titles to Linux. A Linux client of World of Warcraft was developed, and negotiations with Linux Game Publishing were under way until Blizzard cancelled the project. It is unknown if Lantinga was involved with this port.

He also founded Galaxy Gameworks in 2008 to help commercially support the Simple DirectMedia Layer. He left Blizzard Entertainment to "relax, spend time with family, and explore some ideas to expand the Galaxy Gameworks business." Soon after he launched a new website for Gameworks including an extensive list of developer testimonials. Lantinga went on to work for 38 Studios, which shut down in May 2012. Lantinga is currently employed at Valve Corporation.

StarCraft

StarCraft is a military science fiction media franchise, created by Chris Metzen and James Phinney and owned by Blizzard Entertainment. The series, set in the beginning of the 26th century, centers on a galactic struggle for dominance among four species—the adaptable and mobile Terrans, the ever-evolving insectoid Zerg, the powerfully enigmatic Protoss, and the "god-like" Xel'Naga creator race—in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector. The series debuted with the video game StarCraft in 1998. It has grown to include a number of other games as well as eight novelizations, two Amazing Stories articles, a board game, and other licensed merchandise such as collectible statues and toys.

Blizzard Entertainment began planning StarCraft in 1995, with a development team led by Metzen and Phinney. The game debuted at E3 1996, and used a modified Warcraft II game engine. StarCraft also marked the creation of Blizzard Entertainment's film department; the game introduced high quality cinematics integral to the storyline of the series. Most of the original development team for StarCraft returned to work on the game's expansion pack, Brood War; the game's development began shortly after StarCraft was released. In 2001, StarCraft: Ghost began development under Nihilistic Software. Unlike the previous real-time strategy games in the series, Ghost was to be a stealth-action game. After three years of development, work on the game was postponed in 2004. Development of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty began in 2003; the game was announced in May 2007 and was released in July 2010. The StarCraft II franchise continued with the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion, which was released in March 2013. The third StarCraft II installment, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, released in November 2015.

The original game and its expansion have been praised as one of the benchmark real-time strategy games of its time. The series has gathered a solid following around the world, particularly in South Korea, where professional players and teams participate in matches, earn sponsorships, and compete in televised matches. By June 2007, StarCraft and Brood War had sold nearly 10 million copies combined. In addition, the series was awarded a star on the Walk of Game in 2006, and holds four Guinness World Records in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition of 2008.On March 27, 2017, Blizzard announced StarCraft: Remastered, a remastered version of the original StarCraft, with the core updates being up-to-date graphics, and revised dialogue and audio. As of April 19, 2017, StarCraft and its Brood War expansion are free to download and play from Blizzard's website.

StarCraft (video game)

StarCraft is a military science fiction real-time strategy video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment and released for Microsoft Windows on March 31, 1998. The game later spawned a franchise, and is the first game of the StarCraft series. A Classic Mac OS version was released in 1999, and a Nintendo 64 adaptation co-developed with Mass Media was released on June 13, 2000. Work on the game started shortly after Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness' release in 1995. StarCraft debuted at the 1996 E3, where it was unfavorably compared to Warcraft II. As a result, the project was entirely overhauled and then showcased to public in early 1997, receiving a far more positive response.

Set in a fictitious timeline during the Earth's 25th century, the game revolves around three species fighting for dominance in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector: the Terrans, humans exiled from Earth skilled at adapting to any situation; the Zerg, a race of insectoid aliens in pursuit of genetic perfection, obsessed with assimilating other races; and the Protoss, a humanoid species with advanced technology and psionic abilities, attempting to preserve their civilization and strict philosophical way of living from the Zerg.

Many of the industry's journalists have praised StarCraft as one of the best and most important video games of all time, and for having raised the bar for developing real-time strategy games. With more than 11 million copies sold worldwide as of February 2009, StarCraft is one of the best-selling games for the personal computer. The game has been praised for pioneering the use of unique factions in real-time strategy gameplay and for a compelling story. StarCraft's multiplayer is particularly popular in South Korea, where players and teams participate in professional competitions, earn sponsorships, and compete in televised tournaments. StarCraft has had its storyline adapted and expanded through a series of novels, the expansion pack StarCraft: Brood War and two authorized add-ons. A sequel, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, was released in July 2010, and a remastered edition of the original and expansion was released in August 2017. The original game, along with the expansion, was released for free in April 2017.

Titan (Blizzard Entertainment project)

Titan was the project name for a cancelled Blizzard Entertainment massively multiplayer online game. With speculation regarding the game beginning in 2007, Blizzard revealed little information besides that it would be completely new and not be based on the company's then-current three main franchises.

The game was internally canceled by Blizzard in May 2013, though publicly they announced that the project would be delayed as they took the title in a different direction. Its official cancellation was made in September 2014. Internally, about forty members of the Titan project used the developed assets to craft a new game which became Overwatch.

Warcraft

Warcraft is a franchise of video games, novels, and other media created by Blizzard Entertainment. The series is made up of five core games: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone. The first three of these core games are in the real-time strategy genre, where opposing players command virtual armies in battle against each other or a computer-controlled enemy. The fourth and best-selling title of the franchise is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), where players control their character and interact with each other in a virtual world. The most recent title is Hearthstone, a digital collectible card game.

Expansion sets were released for Warcraft II (Beyond the Dark Portal), Warcraft III (The Frozen Throne) and multiple expansions were released for World of Warcraft (The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion and Battle for Azeroth).At BlizzCon 2018 on November 2, 2018, Blizzard announced a remaster of Warcraft III entitled Warcraft III: Reforged featuring remodeled characters and graphics with a prospective release in 2019.All games in the series have been set in and around the world of Azeroth, a high fantasy setting. Initially, the start of the series focused on the human nations that make up the Eastern Kingdoms, and the Orcish Horde, which arrived in Azeroth via a dark portal, beginning the great wars. The Orcs came from another world, referred to as Draenor, the world that will be shattered into pieces by demonic magics during the events of Warcraft II, thereafter being known as Outland. Later on in the series the world of Azeroth was expanded, revealing the new continents of Kalimdor, Northrend, Pandaria, Broken Isles, Kul Tiras, and Zandalar, allowing the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren, Pandaren, and other major races into the universe. The world of Azeroth also contains the traditional fantasy setting races of elves, dwarves, gnomes, orcs, and trolls.The series spawned several books and other media, covering a broad range of characters and timelines in the Warcraft universe. A collectable card game was published, which offered those who bought booster packs a chance to gain access codes to limited in-game content in World of Warcraft. Comics have been released alongside the books, further covering parts of the universe's storyline. A short-lived, online subscription only magazine was available but later ceased publication after five issues. A film adaptation, Warcraft, was released in 2016.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the fourth released game set in the Warcraft fantasy universe. World of Warcraft takes place within the Warcraft world of Azeroth, approximately four years after the events at the conclusion of Blizzard's previous Warcraft release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. The game was announced in 2001, and was released for the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise on November 23, 2004. Since launch, World of Warcraft has had seven major expansion packs released for it: The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, and Battle for Azeroth.

World of Warcraft was the world's most popular MMORPG by player count of nearly 10 million in 2009. The game had a total of over a hundred million registered accounts by 2014. By 2017, the game had grossed over $9.23 billion in revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time. At BlizzCon 2017, a "classic" version of the game was announced, which is planned to provide a way to experience the base game before any of its expansions launched. Blizzard announced at BlizzCon 2018 that WoW Classic will be released in the summer of 2019, and will be included with the standard subscription.

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