American video game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack opened up his speech at the inaugural BlizzCon 2019 event by addressing and apologizing for the company’s handling of the Blitzchung incident. While BlizzCon is known for its release of new game expansions, the drama involving Hearthstone professional player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai in early October has become the source of a protest movement against Blizzard.
“Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together in a tough Hearthstone esports moment, about a month ago,” said J. Allen Brack while on stage. “And we did not. We moved too quickly in our decision making and then, to make matters worse, we were too slow to talk with all of you.”
Brack goes on to say that he is “most unhappy” about two things. The first is that Blizzard Entertainment “didn’t live up to the high standards” that the company has set for themselves. The second is that Blizzard had “failed in our purpose”. He then says that he is sorry and accepts accountability for the company’s handling of the drama.
Brack continues by talking about Blizzard Entertainment’s purpose – “to bring the world together through epic entertainment.” Through video games, Blizzard’s goal is to create a common ground where the community can connect and play, without the impact of outside issues or beliefs that divide its users. He states that BlizzCon has people from 59 countries at the event, which goes to show how video games “transcend [the] divisions” between fans.
However, Brack admits that the company’s actions will matter more than just words. He describes the fact that Blizzard appeared to be ignoring its fan base through its previous actions, which would be improved upon. In addition, he even brings up the protestors and acknowledges their appearance at BlizzCon.
“You use your vacation and your 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 Blizzard games,” says Brack to close the speech. “So once again, BlizzCon has brought us together. And today you’re gonna see a lot of the hard work of the Blizzard team. I am personally so proud of what we’re building, and I hope you love it too. Thank you for joining us.”
This apology is referencing the conflict which arose after Blizzard punished Hearthstone player Blitzchung after he said the Hong Kong protest slogan during an official post-game interview on stream. While the initial issue is a violation of Blizzard’s rules as the interview was supposed to be about the prior Hearthstone match, the punishment led to both online and physical protests because of other reasons.
Blizzard has since reduced Blitzchung’s penalty to a ban of six months and will give him his prize earnings. What do you think about what Brack said? Let us know about your opinion, and keep up with Daily Esports for all of your BlizzCon coverage.
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