Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime has been named the Ernst and Young 2012 National Entrepreneur Of The Year in the technology category, honoring his "commitment to a high standard of quality that has propelled Blizzard Entertainment to the pinnacle of the gaming industry," the organization announced today.
The Ernst and Young awards are meant to encourage entrepreneurship and "recognize leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses."
In a post on the official website, Ernst and Young organizers say that what sets Blizzard apart from other video game studios is its developer-driven nature; once a project is finished, the team immediately consults the executive team to decide what to work on next. Including development teams in the decision-making process fosters motivation and a sense of ownership on Blizzard's games, and heightens the quality of work.
Morhaime, along with Allen Adham and Frank Pearce, founded Blizzard in 1991 under the name Silicon & Synapse. In 1994 the company was renamed Blizzard Entertainment and published what would be the beginning of the Warcraft franchise, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. It's online gaming service Battle.net was launched alongside the first Diablo for PC in 1997.
Finalists for this year's award include founder and CEO of online stock photo library Shutterstock Jon Oringer, founder and CEO of network security company Fortinet Ken Xie and ioMemory platform maker Fusion-io's David Flynn and Rick White.