Global Esports Director Kim Phan Leaves Blizzard Amidst Reports of Low Morale

Global Esports Director Kim Phan Leaves Blizzard Amidst Reports of Low Morale
Credit: Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences via YouTube

After thirteen years with Blizzard, global esports director Kim Phan has announced her exit from the company. The announcement comes post-separation, with her final day having been June 14th.

“What a complete honor and privilege it has been to serve this amazing community,” Phan writes in her announcement. “I will always remember the moments we created together, the blood, sweat, and tears we all poured in, and the late night hours we spent cheering on our favorite teams and players.”

Phan intends to chase after a “new endeavor,” with no details given other than continuing on in the gaming industry. As a long time fan of Blizzard even before her time with the company, Phan injected a massive amount of passion and joy into her duties as the global esports director.

Moving forward, Blizzard esports seem as if they may be shaken up a bit. Phan’s departure comes barely a month after the president of Blizzard’s Esports League, Nate Nanzer, took his own leave. Nanzer’s departure took him to Epic Games, where he oversees competitive Fortnite esports.

With such massive names and roles taking seemingly sudden departures from Activision Blizzard, reports have arisen that there may be a morale issue amongst the esports branch of the developer. This theory is lent credence by an anonymous source that has given a staggering amount of information to Dexerto. According to this source, one of the primary issues is current Blizzard Esports president and CEO Pete Vlastelica, who has taken over the responsibilities of Nate Nanzer.

“People are really getting tired of working for Pete Vlastelica,” the unnamed source claims. “The focus has become commercializing the esports titles instead of making good programs for the community. There’s a feeling that a lot of the senior management just don’t understand esports.”

This can be a difficult claim to find support for from the outside looking in. More than anything, Blizzard’s esports titles continue to boom in popularity. The Overwatch League, for example, has seen no faltering either in the sizeable crowds it draws or in the high number of streams it maintains. Hearthstone and StarCraft remain popular, and plans are already in place to integrate the upcoming remaster of Warcraft III into the esports scene.

Dexerto’s source claims to have a list of names that will be resigning shortly, with Kim Phan being one of many. Whether this is true will only be told in the coming weeks.

Kim Phan’s departure could very well be due to this failing morale, but her announcement held the same passion that she filled the esports scene with during her time with Blizzard. Her destination remains unannounced, but the gaming community watches with high expectations.