The unstoppable rise of Blizzard over the last two decades
For those involved in the gaming industry and dedicated gamers, Blizzard Entertainment has been a driving force in the sector for the last 20 years. The company came from humble beginnings, but went on to create the legendary World of Warcraft series. The company has been responsible for revolutionizing how we play games online and has turned PC gaming into a truly global phenomenon.
The starting point
Activision Blizzard, as the company is now known, is one of the biggest video games companies, but they didn’t start that way. The original founders formed the company as Silicon and Synapse in 1991 and their initial work was simple coding games with basic designs. They continued to develop their formats and launched their first original games, The Lost Vikings and Rock and Roll Racing in 1993.
Following this, the company focused on traditional strategy games combined with platform puzzles and in 1994 changed their name to Blizzard. That year saw the launch of the first version of Warcraft. This game utilized the ideas of Tolkien’s stories, bringing in strategy tactics with a fantasy theme. The Warcraft series not only appealed to traditional gamers, but also brought in new ones.
The development of Blizzard
Blizzard continued to develop their technical capabilities with the aim of creating games that real life gamers want to play. They released Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness at the end of 1995. Another of their successful formats was Diabolo, which offered gamers simple combat moves but became completely addictive. Starcraft became 1998’s most successful game and sold more than 1.5 million copies.
When Blizzard came to develop Warcraft III they wanted to bring the players and characters closer by introducing new elements and taking the game into a third dimension. By 2004, Blizzard had taken the Warcraft concept to a new level by introducing World of Warcraft, opening up the possibilities for new versions. The World of Warcraft family continues to grow, introducing new gamers to the platform and keeping in touch with the hard-core fans.
One of the driving forces behind Blizzard’s success has been Bobby Kotick who is the current President and CEO. He has decades of experience in the technology sector and has been involved in some of the most influential game launches, including World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Call of Duty. He has been central in driving the business forward and creating teams that have the creative vision to develop these innovative and exciting games.
Growth of online
Blizzard was one of the founders of the online gaming format as we know it now. This element helped to boost the success of the Warcraft series, which originally used LAN and modems. These real time strategy games are now one of the most popular PC formats.
By the time Blizzard launched Warcraft II, the game didn’t just allow players to have two or eight player matches, but it also worked with Kali so players could go online. This element of the game went on to become more influential in future Blizzard projects. When they launched Diablo it came with a free online platform, Battle.net, which extended the reach of the game online without gamers having to go through a third party platform.
As the World of Warcraft genre has developed, Blizzard’s use of the online platform has increased. This has enabled gamers to interact with others across the globe and turn the brand into a worldwide phenomenon that doesn’t show any signs of waning.
As the gaming industry has developed and become more technologically advanced, Blizzard has continued to grow alongside it. This has enabled the company to keep in touch with their fans and produce games that are popular the world over.