Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce is retiring

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Blizzard Entertainment co-founder Frank Pearce announced today that after nearly three decades at the company, it is time to "pass the torch to the next generation of leaders."

Pearce, along with Allen Adham and Mike Morhaime, founded the company as Silicon & Synapse in early 1991. Following an acquisition in 1994 it was renamed to Chaos Studios, and then to Blizzard Entertainment. The studio had released a few successful games prior to that but experienced its first major success shortly after the Blizzard renaming with the release of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans.

"My journey as part of the Blizzard community began over 28 years ago. Allen offered me an opportunity to join him and Mike in their adventure and dream to make videogames," Pearce wrote in his farewell message. "Videogames were a passion that we shared, and I had only a fleeting hope that I would have the opportunity to make games one day."

"The decision was easy for me—I did not have the benefit of internet searches to help start me down the path. Allen’s offer letter was the best and only chance I thought I might ever have. Looking back, I know how incredibly fortunate I was to have been a part of what Blizzard has become."

Pearce was never as forward-facing as Morhaime, a regular at BlizzCon and other events, something that Blizzard president J. Allen Brack acknowledged in his own statement. "Like many of us, Frank is an introvert. Thus many of you haven’t seen a lot of him publicly, nor seen the deep impact he’s had on Blizzard, and on the culture specifically," he wrote. "But Frank has been here from the beginning, building and expanding the foundation and championing the values behind everything Blizzard does. Blizzard is better because of Frank Pearce."

Pearce said that it is now time for Brack, who succeeded Morhaime last year, and chief development officer Ray Gresko to "define how the adventure continues."

"I know that the future of Blizzard will be amazing under their guidance. There are many exciting initiatives in the works, and I can’t wait to see the end results," he wrote.

"My request and hope for all of you is that you continue living the Blizzard values and that you be kind and respectful to one another as you experience what Blizzard creates in the future. Blizzard is a special place and a special community, and everyone with whom you interact is important to the Blizzard journey as it continues forward. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful past I have enjoyed, and thank you in advance for the great future I expect we will share."

As for his post-Blizzard plans, Pearce said he will "reflect and be thoughtful about what comes next," but plans to spend more time outside and would like to learn to play an instrument.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.