Blizzard president J. Allen Brack started the Blizzcon 2019 opening ceremony with a much-anticipated apology. He expressed regret, saying that the company “didn’t live up to the high standards that we really set for ourselves.”
His statement went on to say Blizzard aims to do better in the future. “When we get it right, we create a common ground for the community to come together,” Brack said, but then noted. “Our actions are going to matter more than any of these words.”
The apology helped set a positive tone for a conference that’s already witnessed protests in support or Hong Kong. Supporters of the Hong Kong protests handed out “Mei with Hong Kong” t-shirts in front of the convention center. Other supporters took a more provocative approach, dressing up in Winnie the Pooh cosplay. Critics of Xi Jinping, President of China, often compare his appearance to the famous Pooh-bear.
Hong Kong protestors are out in peaceful force. #BlizzCon2019 #blizzcon #meiwithhongkong #freedomhk pic.twitter.com/wmAAJ1i2E0
— Ethan Hawkes (@Ethanhawkes) November 1, 2019
The apology comes after several difficult weeks for Blizzard. It all began when the company responded to an on-stream statement in support of the Hong Kong protests by Hearthstone player Chung Ng Wai, aka Blitzchung.
Initially, Blitzchung was banned for a year and his earnings stripped. The company reinstated his earnings a week later, and reduced his suspension two six months. This wasn’t enough to appease critics, however, who remained unhappy that Blizzard had taken any action to begin with.
J. Allen Brack’s apology will help smooth over Blizzard’s relations with its fans. It also appears that Blizzard has decided not to take strong action against those showing support for Hong Kong at the conference. Fans were worried that Blizzard might ban all shows of support, including shirts, which would’ve caused serious blow back.
Opening Blizzcon 2019 was an appropriate and necessary response that helps set a more positive tone for the conference. Whether it’s enough to appease fans remains to be seen. The show isn’t over yet, and there’s still the possibility that pro-Hong Kong protesters will make a more vocal appearance.
This is a breaking story. It will be updated as more details become available.
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