Former Xbox executive, Mike Ybarra, joins Blizzard Entertainment as executive vice president

In a statement on Twitter, former Xbox executive Mike Ybarra has announced he’s joined Blizzard Entertainment as executive vice president and general manager.

Ybarra only announced his departure from his role at Xbox two weeks ago, having previously spent 20 years at Microsoft working on titles like Gears of War, Age of Empires and Sunset Overdrive. He finished his time there having also led work on Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft’s streaming service Mixer.

Ybarra starts the role at Blizzard on November 4 and has already confirmed that he will be at Blizzcon, the company’s annual fan convention.

“We will work with all our energy to serve gamers with incredible content and experiences,” explained Ybarra. And, well, he might have a tough job on his hands.

Blizzard has been in the midst of a lot of controversy of late, not least because of its actions taken against Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung’ Ng Wai after he expressed support for the Hong Kong protests during a live interview.

Many have suggested that Blizzard is giving into Chinese censorship, in part due to business interest and the nearly 5% ownership stake that Chinese gaming behemoth Tencent owns in the publisher.

With such a pivotal change at the top, it’s possible that Ybarra could be entering the fold just in time for some major announcements at Blizzcon. Time will tell when the conference begins next week. It could be just the positive PR that Blizzard could do with after a rocky few months.

Story by Jennifer Allen.

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