Mike Morhaime, the cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, will receive the 2019 Honor Award at the Gamelab Barcelona event in Spain. He will get the award for his successful career in gaming and his key role in the creation of some of the most groundbreaking and influential game universes of all-time.
Morhaime, who stepped down as president and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment in October 2018 after more than 27 years leading the company, will give a fireside chat at the Gamelab event, and I will moderate it.
Morhaime will be joining the ranks of previous winners such as Ultima creator Richard Garriott, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki, Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani, Bethesda Games’ Todd Howard, and Metal Gear Solid’s Hideo Kojima, among other unique games industry profiles honored at the Spanish conference.
Gamelab’s founder and director Ivan Fernandez Lobo said in a statement, “Mike Morhaime is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in the history of video games. Under his leadership, Blizzard Entertainment transformed the way we create and enjoy games, crafting experiences and interactive universes that will live forever.”
Fernandez Lobo added, “Blizzard Entertainment and the video games world as a whole wouldn’t be what they are today without the dedication, vision, and passion of Morhaime. Beyond his impressive career, it’s Mike’s kindness and human quality that we admire most.” He added, “Mike is an inspiration for everyone in the industry and especially for those who have been lucky enough to work with him.”
Morhaime credited Blizzard’s commitment to a high standard of quality to cofounder Allen Adham. But after Adham left the company, Morhaime carried on and sharpened that tradition. That meant that Blizzard didn’t ship games before they were ready, and it often killed games that didn’t make the grade. And that system enabled it to publish games like Warcraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, and Overwatch. Morhaime had a direct hand in most of those games.
In February 1991, Morhaime cofounded Blizzard Entertainment with the company’s original CEO and current SVP of product development Adham and its current chief product adviser Frank Pearce.
Under Morhaime’s direction — first as a company vice president and then as president since 1998 — Blizzard grew from a third-party development studio into a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software, with a track record that includes twenty-two No. 1 games and numerous Game of the Year awards. Morhaime also oversaw Blizzard’s transformation into a global enterprise. The company now has multiple offices in North America, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, and thousands of employees worldwide.
Morhaime was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) in 2008. In 2018, Glassdoor ranked Morhaime No. 23 on their list of top CEOs and Blizzard Entertainment No. 28 on their list of Best Places to Work.
Other speakers confirmed for the event are God of War game director Cory Barlog, Gearbox chief Randy Pitchford, PUBG’s Brendan Greene, Fable creator Peter Molyneux, Roblox digital civility leader Laura Higgins, Second Life creator Philip Rosedale, Quantic Dream’s David Cage, Insomniac’s Ryan Smith, EA’s Katie Scott, Baba is You creator Arvi “Hempuli” Teikari, Hazelight’s Josef Fares, Gris artist Conrad Roset, IGDA former exec director Kate Edwards, Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, AR pioneer Daniel Sanchez Crespo, Yokozuna Data founder Africa Perianez and Hollywood director and Screenlife creator Timur Bekmambetov, among many others.