Blizzard Entertainment Inc.

Also Known As +

  • Chaos Studios (from 1994-02 to 1994-04)
  • Silicon & Synapse, Inc. (from 1991-02 to 1994-02)

Overview edit · view history

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. was founded as Silicon & Synapse in 1991 in Irvine, California by Allen Adham and Michael Morhaime, with Brian Fargo, the CEO and founder of Interplay Entertainment, being granted a share in the company to improve the prospects of working jointly for the young studio. Frank Pearce also joined upon inception as the first employee.

The small company initially did many ports, converting games from one platform operating system to another, including board games (Battle Chess, Lexicross), strategy games (Castles), sports games (MicroLeague Baseball), and educational games (Dvorak on Typing). However, they were the first American developer to release a Super Nintendo title with RPM Racing, which became one of the first ten launch titles for the platform in North America.

It was not until Silicon & Synapse collaborated with Interplay Entertainment on the SNES side-scroller The Lost Vikings that the company had its critical – though not commercial – breakthrough. With some acclaim, the game hit the shelves in 1993. Its release, along with Rock n' Roll Racing (also 1993) led Nintendo to name the studio its "Developer of the Year". Tragically, the release of the two games coincided with the death of the 16-bit console market, and neither title sold well.

Facing a lack of success in the console market, and not willing to bet solely on one market, the company continued developing several 16-bit console titles while branching out by starting development on two new games: Games People Play, a crossword/word game that was never completed, and WarCraft: Orcs & Humans.

Blackthorne was released under the new name Chaos Studios, but conflicts with an unregistered trademark for "Chaos" forced the company leadership to again consider a new name. In February 1994, upon acquisition by Davidson & Associates, one of the largest educational software publishers, it was changed to Blizzard Entertainment.

Blizzard became an influential development studio thanks to well-received franchises such as WarCraft, Diablo and StarCraft. The studio garnered many awards and a great deal of commercial success; building one of the most profitable games ever with the release of World of WarCraft in 2004.

A good deal of the success for the company's online games can be attributed to, a free online gaming service on the internet.

The company's ownership has shifted many times over the years, through mergers, name changes or acquisitions:

In its history, the company also had many titles in development that were eventually canceled. These include:

  • Games People Play: an early 1990s title featuring crossword puzzles, boggle, and other word games.
  • Denizen: an action RPG for SunSoft. Its development was started twice, once in the early years, and once after WarCraft: Orcs & Humans was released. Blizzard had a working SNES prototype but never got funding, so the game was shelved.
  • Crixa: a 2D top-down spaceship shooter taking inspiration from Star Maze. It was originally designed as an in-house test at Qualia Games in 1995. However, after a month, Qualia's funding crashed. They got a publishing deal with Blizzard, who canceled the game in 1996.
  • Shattered Nations: a post-apocalyptic, turn-based strategy game with an isometric perspective. The game was announced at E3 1995 and canceled in 1996.
  • Pax Imperia 2: the sequel to Pax Imperia. Its development started as a collaboration between Blizzard and Changeling Software. Announced during CES 1995, it was planned for a Christmas 1995 release on Mac and Windows. By August 1996, Blizzard had sold the rights to THQ, for who Changeling, in the meantime renamed to Heliotrope Studios, finished the game as Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain.
  • Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans: a point and click adventure game set in the WarCraft universe. It was announced in March 1997, but because it failed Blizzard's quality standards the game's cancellation was reported on May 22, 1998.
  • Raiko: an action RPG like Diablo with a 3D engine set in ancient Japan. It was being developed by Flextech between 1996 and 1998.
  • Nomad: the precursor to World of WarCraft. It was canceled in 1999 when development on the latter began.
  • StarCraft: Ghost: a stealth-action behind-view shooter, set in the StarCraft universe. The GameCube's version cancellation was reported in November 2005. The PlayStation 2 and Xbox were postponed indefinitely in March 2006 and confirmed canceled in 2014.
  • Titan: a massively multiplayer game officially canceled in September 2014 after seven years of development. Many concepts and assets were repurposed for the multiplayer shooter Overwatch.

Credited on 119 Games from 1991 to 2023

Displaying most recent · View all

Diablo IV (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Diablo IV (Deluxe Edition) (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Diablo IV (Ultimate Edition) (2023 on PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series...)
Diablo IV: Crypt Hunter Pack (2023 on PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series...)
World of WarCraft: Dragonflight (Collector's Edition) (2022 on Macintosh, Windows)
World of WarCraft: Dragonflight (2022 on Windows, Macintosh)
Overwatch 2 (2022 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Diablo: Immortal (2022 on Windows, iPhone, Android...)
Diablo II: Resurrected (2021 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Diablo II: Resurrected - Prime Evil Collection (2021 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows...)
Blizzard Arcade Collection (2021 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
World of WarCraft: Shadowlands (2020 on Windows, Macintosh)
World of WarCraft: Shadowlands (Collector's Edition) (2020 on Windows, Macintosh)
Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War (2020 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Campaign Remastered (2020 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Call of Duty: Warzone (2020 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
WarCraft III: Reforged (2020 on Windows, Macintosh)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Overwatch: Legendary Edition (2019 on Nintendo Switch)
World of WarCraft (15th Anniversary Collector's Edition) (2019 on Windows, Macintosh)

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History +

March 1996

Acquires Blizzard North


Davidson & Associates (and Blizzard along with it) was acquired by a timeshare company called CUC International.


Acquired by Davidson & Associates for under $10 million.


The company title Blizzard is established, and their first title under the new name, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans is released.

February 1991

Company founded as Silicon & Synapse by chairman Allen Adham, president Michael Morhaime and vice president Frank Pearce.

[ view all ]

Trivia +


  • The Game Awards
    • 2014 — Developer of the Year — Nominated

Company contact and location information (2008):

Blizzard Entertainment

P.O. Box 18979 Irvine

California 92623

United States

Company phone: +1-949-955-1382

Company email: [email protected]

Company contact and location information (Nov. 1994):

Blizzard Entertainment

P.O. Box 18077

Irvine, CA 92713

United States

Company phone: +1-714-556-5571 or +1-800-953-SNOW

BBS: +1-714-556-4602

Related Web Sites +

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