Ubisoft San Francisco have added former Hearthstone esports lead Che Chou as senior director of esports, Chou announced Tuesday on Twitter. The signing comes just three days after Chou announced that Friday, Jan. 4, had been his last day at Blizzard.
It’s with mixed emotions that I’m announcing my last day with Blizzard is today. I’ve had an amazing adventure with HS over the past couple years and I want to thank the community for embracing my team and I for the run we had in 2016-2018. Best of luck with everything! ✌️
— che chou (@chespace) January 5, 2019
Chou joined Blizzard in October 2016 and has been the driving instrument behind the revamp of Hearthstone’s esports structure since. During his time at Blizzard, Hearthstone’s Championship Tour (HCT) employed a system with various Tour Stops and introduced layers of competition with the goal to promote consistency.
While some elements of the HCT — particularly the density of Tour Stops, making for a tiring and expensive travel itinerary for pros — received critique, Chou said Blizzard are looking to make tweaks in an interview with Blizzpro from last October. Instead, a full revamp of the system was introduced. In the announcement video, Che Chou was also no longer listed as the Hearthstone esports franchise lead.
Che Chou’s role in Blizzard was inherited by Sam Braithewaite, one of the people who helped bring the Heroes Global Championship to cable in partnership with Disney. He also played a part in securing Overwatch League’s $90 million broadcast deal with Twitch. As for Chou, he’s off to perhaps greener pastures with Ubisoft San Francisco.
Hey y’all, I’m humbled, honored, and super excited to announce that I’ve accepted a role at Ubisoft SF as senior director of esports. Day 1 was today. Lots to learn and catch up on but looking forward to an eventful 2019. Let’s do this! ✌️
— che chou (@chespace) January 8, 2019
Chou’s new job will likely have him tackle the esports side of Rainbow Six: Siege. Ubisoft’s tactical FPS has had a fruitful 2018 and has been an esports on the rise. In November, ESL’s Pro League Season 8 awarded a $275,000 to the best R6: Siege teams and Season 9 is scheduled to begin this week.
Che Chou’s departure adds to the long list of senior crew leaving Blizzard in the last year. In October, Mike Morhaime announced he was stepping down as company president and CEO, leaving the job to J. Allen Brack. In April, Hearthstone’s own director Ben Brode left to found his own company, together with other Hearthstone veterans like lead producer Yong Woo and executive producer Hamilton Chu.
In December, Blizzard also cancelled their HGC program and shifted developers away from the game. And this January alone, Activision Blizzard lost two CFO’s in a row: first Spencer Neumann to Netflix and then his successor, Amrita Ahuja, to payment processing company Square.