Business

Blizzard’s co-founder launches new Irvine-based gaming company

Michael Morhaime, former CEO and co-founder of Irvine-based Blizzard, has launched Dreamhaven. / Photo: Courtesy Dreamhaven

By Brian Thomas

Michael Morhaime, who co-founded Blizzard Entertainment 29 years ago and was at the helm as CEO when the company’s flagship World of Warcraft video game exploded in popularity, has launched Dreamhaven. The new company, based in Irvine, will be home to several new gaming studios including its first two, Moonshot and Secret Door.

Morhaime left Activision Blizzard in April 2019 after stepping down from his CEO post at Blizzard the previous October. He served in an advisory capacity until departing last year. This week Dreamhaven debuted as a game developer and publisher. According to the company’s website, it wants to make video games a force for good.

How will Dreamhaven be different?

“We want to make a positive dent on the world,” Morhaime told Washington Post columnist Seth Schiesel. “It’s about human connection. How do you elevate the human connection and interaction through digital experience?”

In an interview with Venturebeat Morhaime eluded to the corporate bureaucracy that weighed on him when he led Blizzard. He stressed the importance of retaining control over decision making with Dreamhaven.

Fifty-two-year-old Morhaime, who owns Dreamhaven with his wife Amy, launched the company with some 27 former Blizzard staffers. Moonshot and Secret Door, are the first two studios in what will be a growing portfolio of other developers.

Jason Chayes, Dustin Browder, and Ben Thompson will lead Moonshoot. Chris Sigaty, Alan Dabiri, and Eric Dodds make up Secret Door’s leadership team.

Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine campus / Photo: IrvineIndy.com

Irvine is home to big-name gaming companies

Irvine has become a hub for the gaming industry with some of the biggest names, including Blizzard Entertainment on Alton Parkway, Amazon’s Game Studios on Technology Drive, Obsidian Entertainment on Spectrum Center Drive just across from Irvine Spectrum Center, MobilityWare off the 5 freeway near Jamboree, and Ready at Dawn Studios on California Avenue near UC Irvine.

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