April 22, 2024


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Phil Spencer makes a surprise appearance at the BlizzCon 2023 opening ceremony

Phil Spencer makes a surprise appearance at the BlizzCon 2023 opening ceremony

The first BlizzCon conference since Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard kicked off on Friday, marking the occasion with a fitting surprise appearance: Xbox head Phil Spencer.

As Spencer noted, this was his first time at the annual conference in Anaheim, California, where he gave a brief speech at the opening ceremony. In it he mentioned some of Blizzard’s biggest franchises, with a particularly loud reaction from the audience when he name-dropped StarCraft.

“Throughout Blizzard’s history, they have pioneered and shaped so much across the gaming industry and many of you today have been part of that journey,” Spencer said on stage. “Think of Diablo – it pushed the action RPG genre forward. StarCraft produced the foundation for what eSports would eventually become, and StarCraft 2 was a major catalyst for the evolution of gaming as live entertainment.”

“Not only has World of Warcraft changed how people develop and support games, it has actually introduced the concept of online communities to a much broader audience,” he continued. “Overwatch has reimagined not only gameplay, but also the representation possible in its class-based shooters.”

He concluded by promising that Xbox will “nurture the essence of what made Blizzard unique,” and “empower our new teammates in a culture of trust, inclusion, and collaboration.”

However, Spencer has yet to drop any news — not even in the form of a T-shirt tease. Despite calling it a World of Warcraft drop, there was no mention one way or another about it coming to Xbox consoles, something that fans have been clamoring for especially since the acquisition closed.

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More concrete developments are scheduled to come later on Friday and Saturday as BlizzCon continues. To find out everything you can expect and how to watch it all, check out our breakdown, and keep up with everything announced and revealed here.

Alex Stedman is a senior news editor at IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.