Blizzard president apologizes over Hong Kong controversy

(Image credit: Blizzard)

At the beginning of BlizzCon 2019's opening ceremony today, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack has addressed the ongoing controversy of Blizzard's decision to suspend a Hearthstone player over their comments on Hong Kong. 

"Blizzard has the opportunity to bring the world together... and we did not," Brack said at BlizzCon 2019. "We moved too quickly in our decision making, and then, to make matters worse, we were too slow to talk with all of you.

"When I think about what I'm most unhappy about, it's really two things. The first one is that we didn't live up to the high standards that we really set for ourselves. And the second is that we failed in our purpose. And for that, I am sorry, and I accept accountability."

Brack did not explain further what accountability entails outside of this statement, instead spending the rest of his apology talking about the positive power of videogames and how good BlizzCon is at bringing people together. 

"We aspire to bring the world together in epic entertainment," he said. "And I truly believe in the positive power of videogames."

Blitzchung's punishment still appears to stand, however, with Brack apologising more to fans for not communicating quickly enough.

"When we get it right," he added, "we create a common ground where the community comes together." Evidence of that is in the people from 59 countries that have come to BlizzCon.

While Brack said actions mattered more, it's not clear at this moment what actions Blizzard is actually taking. BlizzCon attendees will apparently see how the company is committed to letting people express themselves, however, suggesting that Blizzard will be letting the protests taking place outside the convention center continue without interference. 

"As you walk around this weekend, I hope its clear how committed we are to everyone's right to express themselves, in all kinds of ways and all kinds of places," he said. "And we have seen and heard many of you expressing yourselves this morning. You use your vacation and family time to be here in Anaheim with us, and we are so grateful that you're here this weekend. Our best moments are here in our shared passion for videogames."

Reception to these statements was positive within the Anaheim Convention Center, with an early gap in Brack's statement soliciting applause after saying he accepts accountability, and some attendees laughing in response to Brack's note that players and other attendees are expressing their political views around the event.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.