Blizzard suffers another blow with exit of global esports director Kim Phan

Blizzard esports suffered another major blow with a new high-profile departure amid reports of turmoil within the division.

Kim Phan, Blizzard’s global esports director who has been with the company for over 13 years, revealed her exit in a post on the official Team Liquid forums, which she discovered early on in her career.

“What a complete honor and privilege it has been to serve this amazing community. 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 wrote.

Phan revealed that her last day at Blizzard was June 14, and that she will be pursuing “a new endeavor” within the video game industry. “As I hang up my sword and shield, I look forward to a bright future and wish all my Blizzard friends and family the very best.”

Phan urged gamers to keep voicing their concerns to Blizzard, as she said that the developer was always listening to feedback from players. She ended her post by saying that she will be attending BlizzCon this year as “a diehard fan,” coming full circle from her days of running WarCraft III fan site WCReplays.com.

The departure of Phan was reported earlier this month by Dexerto, which also claimed that Blizzard’s esports teams for Call of Duty and Overwatch were low on morale. Her exit also comes just a month after Overwatch League’s founding commissioner, Nate Nanzer, left to join Epic Games and oversee competitive Fortnite.

Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues President and CEO Pete Vlastelica, who replaced Nanzer as Overwatch League Commissioner, is reportedly the reason for the departures and low morale. “People are really getting tired of working for Pete Vlastelica,” one source told Dexerto, as the focus is said to have shifted away from creating good programs for the games’ communities and into commercializing esports initiatives. “Right now, there’s a feeling that a lot of the senior management just don’t understand esports,” said another source.

The resignations of Phan and Nanzer highlight the struggles of Blizzard’s esports efforts, but fortunately for the company, the Overwatch League continues to draw large crowds as teams prepare to start hosting home games in 2020.

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