Play Nice

The Rise, Fall, and Future Of Blizzard Entertainment

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By Jason Schreier

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New York Times bestselling author and the gaming industry's preeminent investigative journalist Jason Schreier examines three decades of ups and downs at Blizzard Entertainment leading up to a hostile corporate takeover and a sexual misconduct scandal that put the legendary developer in a world of (Warcraft) trouble.

For video game fans, the name Blizzard Entertainment was once synonymous with perfection. The renowned company behind classics like Diablo and World of Warcraft was known to celebrate the joy of gaming over all else. What was once two UCLA students' simple mission — to make games they wanted to play — launched an empire with thousands of employees, millions of fans, and billions of dollars. 

But when Blizzard cancelled a buzzy project in 2013, it gave Bobby Kotick, the infamous CEO of corporate parent Activision, the excuse he needed to start cracking down on Blizzard's proud autonomy. Led by executives from McKinsey and Procter & Gamble, Activision began invading Blizzard from the inside. Glitchy products, PR disasters, and mass layoffs followed, marring the company’s once pristine image. Then, in 2021, a staggering sexual misconduct and discrimination lawsuit against the company triggered a widespread reckoning and a shocking $69 billion acquisition.

Based on firsthand interviews with more than 300 current and former employees, PLAY NICE chronicles the creativity, frustration, beauty, and betrayal across the epic 33-year saga of Blizzard Entertainment. From previously unrevealed stories of Blizzard’s early culture, including fist fights and a hotel ban, to the full story of Titan, Blizzard’s most high-profile canceled project, and the behind-the-scenes saga of how Blizzard executives battled their Activision overlords tooth and nail, this book explores the delight and despair of what it really means to "bleed Blizzard blue." Full of colorful personalities and dramatic twists, PLAY NICE is The Social Network for the video game industry. 

Genre:

  • "Jason Schreier's Play Nice is a riveting chronicle of one of gaming's most iconic companies. With gripping detail and unmatched access, Schreier pulls back the curtain on Blizzard Entertainment's meteoric rise, turbulent history, and struggle to balance uncompromising creativity with corporate America's unyielding pursuit of profit. Play Nice is a must-read exposé of the passion, ambition and dysfunction behind some of the most beloved games of all time."

    Bradley Hope, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Billion Dollar Whale
  • "Jason Schreier is the closest thing video games have to David Grann. Fearless, intrepid, and always fair-minded, Schreier gets at stories no one else can. He makes clear that the history of Blizzard is a microcosm of a larger, uglier story: the clash between shareholder capitalism and creativity, the unseemly corporate toleration of bad behavior, and the exploitation of workers who in many cases sacrifice their youth to make wealthy people even wealthier. This is riveting, essential reading for anyone who cares about how art is made in the twenty-first century." 
    Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives
  • PRAISE FOR JASON SCHREIER

    "Schreier writes lucidly and entertainingly. For neophytes, PRESS RESET is a useful introduction to the business of videogames. For those who play… the book may prove compulsively readable."

     
    Wall Street Journal on PRESS RESET
  • "A must-read... Schreier's reporting is unparalleled."
    Forbes on PRESS RESET
  • “Schreier covers the notoriously secretive gaming industry… and he knows it well… He also clearly respects [the] developers and their achievements, and treats their rueful tales of selfless struggle with an admiring deference…a useful survey of the landscape of game production at this cultural moment.”
    GQ on BLOOD, SWEAT, AND PIXELS

On Sale
Oct 8, 2024
Page Count
384 pages
ISBN-13
9781538725429

Jason Schreier

About the Author

Jason Schreier is the New York Times bestselling author of Press Reset and Blood, Sweat, and Pixels and a reporter at Bloomberg News, where he covers the video game industry. He lives in Westchester, New York with his wife and two children.

Learn more about this author