Blizzard Entertainment is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software. After establishing the Blizzard Entertainment label in 1994, the company quickly became one of the most popular and well-respected makers of computer games. By focusing on creating well-designed, highly enjoyable entertainment experiences, Blizzard Entertainment has maintained an unparalleled reputation for quality since its inception.
Blizzard Entertainment’s track record of back-to-back #1-selling games spans more than a decade, including its most recent releases, World of Warcraft®: Warlords of Draenor™, Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls™, and StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm™. The company has also garnered broad critical acclaim, achieving multiple Game of the Year awards across each of its blockbuster franchises. In addition, Blizzard Entertainment’s online-game service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.
The high-quality products based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes have also proven popular with gamers. These products include action figures, novels, comics, manga, board games, pen-and-paper role-playing games, apparel, and the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, which is a bestseller in its category. Extending the reach of its games even further, Blizzard Entertainment is currently at work with Legendary Pictures, the studio behind the feature films Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Watchmen, and 300, on a live-action Warcraft® movie.
Blizzard Entertainment's most recent release in the Warcraft universe is World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the fifth expansion to the company’s bestselling and award-winning subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft. Warlords of Draenor launched around the world starting on November 13, 2014, and sold through more than 3.3 million copies as of the first 24 hours of its availability.
The previous World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria®, was released starting on September 25, 2012, and sold through approximately 2.7 million copies during the first week of its release. Launched on December 7, 2010, the third World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm®, sold through more than 3.3 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time—a record it would hold until the release of Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III. This record was previously held by World of Warcraft’s first two expansions, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade® and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King®, which sold approximately 2.4 million copies and over 2.8 million copies in their first 24 hours, respectively.
World of Warcraft initially launched on November 23, 2004 in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, with subsequent launches in South Korea, Europe, mainland China, Singapore, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau in 2005; Malaysia in 2006; Thailand in 2007; Latin America and Russia in 2008; and Brazil in 2011. The game has achieved unprecedented popularity on a global scale, millions of subscribers worldwide.It is available in eleven different languages based on the regions in which it is played, and has earned awards and praise from publications around the world.
Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, Blizzard’s digital strategy card game, launched on March 11, 2014, and is now available on several platforms, including Windows, Mac, iPad, and Android tablets. Deceptively simple but epically engaging, Hearthstone is designed to be instantly accessible to players regardless of their familiarity with Warcraft or collectible card games. Blizzard launched Hearthstone’s explosive first expansion, Goblins vs Gnomes™, in December 2014.
Blizzard's original Warcraft game, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans™, was touted as one of the best strategy games of 1994, and the game’s epic sequel, 1995’s Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness™, won numerous awards, including the company’s first Game of the Year award. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos®, released in July 2002, has likewise won several accolades and, like StarCraft, became a staple of professional tournament gaming, along with its expansion, the award-winning Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne®, which was released in July 2003.
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void™ is the third chapter in the epic StarCraft II trilogy. Players embark on a quest to reunite the protoss factions and face an ancient evil that threatens the entire galaxy. Only by harnessing the strength of the mighty Golden Armada, a powerful fleet of warships, are players able to defeat the coming darkness before it consumes all life in the sector.
On March 12, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment released StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the first expansion to the company’s blockbuster real-time strategy game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Heart of the Swarm’s campaign focuses on the vengeful Queen of Blades as she struggles to reunite the fragmented zerg Swarm. The expansion also introduced a vast number of updates and improvements to StarCraft II’s acclaimed and wildly popular competitive multiplayer experience.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty launched on July 27, 2010, and sold through more than 1 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability and more than 3 million in its first month, making it the fastest-selling strategy game of all time. Alongside the launch of StarCraft II, Blizzard released a brand-new version of its acclaimed online gaming service, Battle.net, which has been redesigned from the ground up to be the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard gamers, with several enhancements and new features, such as voice communication, cloud file storage, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and more.
The original StarCraft, which Blizzard Entertainment released in March 1998, was the company's third #1 seller and was listed as the bestselling game of 1998 by PC Data. The game's expansion set, StarCraft: Brood War®, was named best expansion of 1998 and is still considered by many critics to be one of the best add-on products to date.
In South Korea, StarCraft's mass popularity played a major role in the birth of the professional-gaming and game-broadcasting phenomena.
The games in the StarCraft series are a long-running staple of professional tournament gaming. This is especially the case in South Korea, where the original game's mass popularity played a major role in the birth of the professional-gaming and game-broadcasting phenomena, as well as serving as one of the key drivers behind the growth of the PC-game-room business.
Diablo III was launched on May 15, 2012, and sold through more than 3.5 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability, setting a new all-time record for fastest-selling PC game. Together with the more than 1.2 million players who received Diablo III as part of signing up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass promotion, more than 6.3 million players worldwide had a copy of Diablo III within its first week of release—representing the biggest PC-game launch in history.
On September 3, 2013, Blizzard made a long-awaited return to console development by redesigning Diablo III for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation® 3 systems. The revised loot system, difficulty settings, and other updates made for Diablo III’s console incarnation were well-received by gaming press and players, and many of these improvements were added to the PC version of the game.
The next epic chapter in the Diablo III saga—the Reaper of Souls expansion—was released on March 25, 2014 for Windows and Mac, and sold over 2.7 million copies as of the first week of its availability. The content added to Diablo III in Reaper of Souls makes its way to PlayStation 3, PlayStation® 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 on August 19, 2014 with the Ultimate Evil Edition™.
The original Diablo, which shipped to stores in the last week of December 1996, debuted at #1 in the United States and was widely credited as having helped to revitalize the RPG genre. In 2000, Blizzard Entertainment launched the game’s sequel, Diablo II, which set the record for fastest-selling PC game ever at the time of its release. The company followed up in 2001 with the expansion, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction®, which sold more than a million copies in its first month and was one of the biggest sellers of 2001, in addition to receiving widespread critical acclaim.
In addition to the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft universes, Blizzard Entertainment is now exploring new worlds—and mashing them together. The upcoming Overwatch™, announced at BlizzCon 2014, is a team-based shooter featuring an amazing cast of heroes and built with an emphasis on accessibility and pure fun. Set in an all-new Blizzard universe, Overwatch pits an array of soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities against each other across a range of futuristic global locations.
Heroes of the Storm™ is Blizzard Entertainment’s action-packed online team brawler, featuring iconic characters drawn from throughout the company’s history. In Heroes of the Storm, powerful warriors from Azeroth, Sanctuary, the Koprulu sector, and beyond have been drawn into a transdimensional battleground known as the Nexus. In this mayhem-filled realm, these heroes and villains have but one fate—join forces and battle endlessly for glory, survival, and just plain fun.
Prior to the release of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Blizzard Entertainment served as a third-party developer, creating entertainment software for various platforms, including MS-DOS, Macintosh, Sega Genesis, and Super NES. The company’s best-known titles from this era include Rock ‘n Roll Racing®, The Lost Vikings®, and Blackthorne®.
Each member of the Blizzard Entertainment staff is a true game enthusiast, giving the company invaluable insight into creating products for gamers.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision Blizzard, was founded in 1991 under the name Silicon & Synapse by Allen Adham, president & CEO Michael Morhaime, and chief development officer Frank Pearce.