How Mike Morhaime got seed money to start Blizzard Entertainment

Step into the front lobby at Blizzard Entertainment’s main office in Irvine, California, and you’ll see the Blizzard Museum to your left. The intimate room hosts many game awards, art, and concept designs for the studio’s many great games. However, take a closer look – and you’ll see a very special note from the parents of Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. Look even closer, and you’ll see that the congratulatory card is accompanied by a promissory note from Morhaime’s parents for the amount of $15,000.

The note is dated February 4, 1991, which means that Morhaime was about 25 years old at the time when it was written. Blizzard Entertainment was founded that same year as Silicon & Synapse. As we continue our stroll through the Blizzard Museum, we see many other reminders of Blizzard’s earlier days long before the company launched genre defining titles, like Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. It’s a nice reminder that even the largest companies always start off as smaller ventures.

Above: Without this parental loan, we wouldn’t have World of Warcraft, Diablo, or StarCraft! The note sits in a place of prominence in front of a wall of game awards and its glass case has a plus 10 resistance to camera flash

We already shared a bunch of photos of the Blizzard Museum from our last visit. But this time we brought a better camera! So enjoy some nicer framed images of RPM Racing, The Lost Vikings, Blackthorne, and Justice League Task Force!

Above: Blackthorne was cool because it had shotguns

Aug 5, 2011

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  • grayguwapo - August 8, 2011 5:42 a.m.

    Hey! That was exactly on my birthday! I just turned 14 that time... Maybe I should've asked for some start up business cash from my parents during my birthday instead of new kicks...
  • oldschoolgamer - August 7, 2011 7:51 p.m.

    I do love the story though.. it really shows you that you dont need a million dollars to make something fun.. diablo was one of the best games blizzard ever made.. i even enjoy it more than wow to this day.
  • oldschoolgamer - August 7, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    @valiki Because off line is great when you have single player games.. Your living in a dreamworld if you think the entire world is covered with highspeed service and wireless. If someone wants to spend the summer at a lake house thats over 100 miles from the nearest access, doesnt mean they might not wanna fire up some single player fun from time to time. Not everyone is in the middle of highspeed hubs and the cities. there are so many places in the US that dont have coverage or anything but dial-up.. Not to mention the rest of the world. but for arguements sake 100+ bucks a month for a data line is a bit outta many gamers price range, not everyone has tons of money to toss around on a whi. they make decisions like pay bills and eat.. perhaps that 30 dollar game was their fun money for the next 3 months they got from cashing in some cans they found, now to enjoy it they also have to pay for internet access? If people wanna play Online games with others thats fine, but this must be attached to the internet for single player is total crap....
  • valiki - August 7, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    @CommandantOreo "Maybe if Diablo 3 had offline, he wouldn't have needed the seeds." What does that have anything to do with this story. From Blizzard's stand point if they are going to have a AH of sorts in Diablo 3 allowing someone to play offline and then show up like a Back Street Merchant to sell stuff could break the econony thats more than likely their stand point on it....i know the economy will be broken...cough..cough WoW.. and that Blizzard doesnt need anymore money... i just dont get why people are so upset about the always online?...yes it sucks if their servers crash or your provider has a hiccup and you lose a couple of hours of progress, but really it's a blizzard game...have you typed in /played on your WoW game lately...scary huh...(recovering WoW addict...clean for 2 years) For the i want to be able to play anywhere crowd..if you can afford a decent enough laptop that can play WoW or DIablo 3 then buy a internet service from your cell provider and be your own hotspot (or crack the phone and enable it)...and if you are going to tell me the laptop is cheap (um what kind is it so i can go upgrade my own)
  • NanoElite666 - August 6, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    Just goes to show that it pays to be on good terms with your parents.
  • JSayonara - August 6, 2011 1:07 a.m.

    I loved that Justice League game back in the day. And it didn't even have Green Lantern in it.
  • CommandantOreo - August 6, 2011 12:47 a.m.

    Maybe if Diablo 3 had offline, he wouldn't have needed the seeds.
  • idlemindkiller - August 6, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    I wonder how much money my parents have? I wanna start a business too.

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