Former Microsoft Exec Joins Blizzard Entertainment

Courtesy of Blizzard
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Mike Ybarra, a vet of Microsoft for nearly 20 years, has joined the Irvine-based game company as its new exec vp and general manager.

Longtime Microsoft vp Mike Ybarra, who left the company earlier this month, has joined Blizzard Entertainment as its new exec vp and general manager.

"I'm very happy to announce I'm joining [Blizzard]," Ybarra said in a tweet on Thursday. "We will work with all our energy to serve gamers with incredible content and experiences. I can't wait to be part of this team."

Ybarra worked at Microsoft for close to 20 years, joining the company in 2000 as a systems engineer and holding numerous titles during his tenure. In 2017, he became the company's corporate vp, handling departments such as the company's online subscription services Xbox Live and Game Pass, as well as Microsoft's streaming platform, Mixer, which launched the same month he took the position.

Details on Ybarra's new role have not been shared and a request for comment from Blizzard was not immediately returned.

Microsoft has yet to name a replacement for Ybarra, but Xbox head Phil Spencer congratulated his former co-worker on Twitter, saying, "Congrats Mike, really happy for you and I know you'll do great work."

In recent weeks, Blizzard has been surrounded in controversy stemming from a suspension the company issued to professional Hearthstone esports player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai following comments the player made in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack later walked back the one-year suspension to six months and reinstated Chung's prize money earned from Hearthstone tournaments. But outcry against the company for kowtowing to the Chinese government has been harsh.