Tough move: In the midst of a heated controversy over Hong Kong protests and the buzz of the upcoming BlizzCon event, Mike Ybarra is taking a role as Blizzard's VP and general manager. His name may sound familiar as he worked heading up Xbox Live for 10 years. Maybe new blood is just what Blizzard needs to weather the current firestorm.

Former Xbox executive Mike Ybarra will soon be the executive vice president and general manager at Blizzard.

Ybarra served nearly 20 years at Microsoft starting as a systems engineer in 2000, In 2009, he was promoted to general manager of Xbox Live. He had since taken over executive responsibilities for Game Pass, and Mixer as well.

The VP tweeted on Thursday that he would be stepping into his new position on November 4, right after BlizzCon.

"We will work with all our energy to serve gamers with incredible content and experiences," he wrote. "I can't wait to be part of this team."

Blizzard has been without an official GM since co-founder Michael Morhaime stepped down last year. Ybarra will be taking the reins from Blizzard's president and co-founder, J. Allen Brack, who has been filling the void in the interim.

The new VP will be inheriting a PR nightmare when he steps into the office. The publisher has recently been embroiled in no little amount of controversy regarding the banning of professional player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung for flashing a pro-Hong Kong sign during a post-tournament interview.

Rumors are circulating that Blizzard may be announcing Diablo 4 at BlizzCon next week. It seems like this speculation happens just about every year, but if the scuttlebutt holds true this time, it could be a fortunate turn of events for the fresh executive. An announcement of an imminent release of D4 could go a long way in quieting the uproar over the company's recent actions.

Image credit: Lauren Elisabeth via Shutterstock