Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Opens BlizzCon 2019 with Apology for "Hearthstone" Controversy
At Blizzcon 2019, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack began the convention with an apology for the Hong Kong controversy.
Today marked the start of Blizzcon 2019, an event filled with announcements on Blizzard’s most popular titles. However, there was speculation surrounding planned protests due to Blizzard’s actions in regard to the banning of Blitzchung, a Hearthstone player who took part in the popular esports tournament.
Before the Blizzcon opening ceremony started, the president of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack stepped out onto the stage to say a few words. Those words, of course, were addressing the controversy that has been following the company around like a bad smell for the past month or so.
He starts off with:
“Before we start the opening ceremony, I want to say a few words. You know, Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together in a tough, Hearthstone esports moment about a month ago, and we did not. We moved too quickly with our decision making and then made matters worse we were too slow to talk with all of you.”
He continued by detailing what things he was most unhappy about what happened.
“The first one is we didn’t live up to the high standards that we really set for ourselves. The second is we failed our purpose. For that, I’m sorry and I accept accountability.”
From that point, huge cheers erupted through the hall.
“So what exactly is our purpose?” Allen Brack continues after the applause dies down, “Blizzcon is demonstrating it even as we speak. We aspire to bring the world together with epic entertainment, and I truly believe in the positive power of video games.”
“When we get it right, we create a common ground where the community comes together to compete, connect, and play irrespective of the things that divide us.”
He then goes on to explain how Blizzcon 2019 has people from 59 countries all around the world at the event, showing an example of how people come together, and the power of video games.
He starts to divert the conversation back to the Hearthstone situation with, “We will do better going forward. But our actions are going to matter more than any of these words.” He then tells those at the event that he hopes they see how clear it that the staff are committed to everyone’s right to express themselves in all ways and all kinds of places.
The speech ends with him expressing excitement for Blizzcon, and then the countdown begins.
To recap, Blitzchung showed support for the Hong Kong protests taking place, which found Blizzard suspending him and taking his prize money away. This led to widespread anger, and Blizzard issued a statement and reduced the suspension. Then a show of support for Blitzchung from the American University Hearthstone team led to them being suspended too. The entire situation led to a letter from members of the US Government.