When Blizzard Entertainment ejected the Hearthstone champion player Blitzchung in retaliation for voicing a pro-Hong Kong message during a tournament, it kicked off a furious round of protests against the company, resulting in canceled events and more player action in support of the protesters.
Today marked the opening of Blizzcon, the company's annual show/expo, and the Anaheim convention center was picketed by players who are furious with Blizzard's capitulation to Beijing.
When J Allen Brack took the stage at the opening ceremonies, he led with a very precisely worded apology for the company's conduct, saying, "We moved too quickly in our decision-making and then to make matters worse, we were too slow to talk to all of you…We didn't live up to the higher standards we set for ourselves. Second, we failed in our purpose. For that, I am sorry, and I accept accountability." He finished by promising that the company "will do better going forward.. with [actions that] matter more than any of these words."
Brack did not mention China or Hong Kong.
Before Brack took the stage and throughout his statement, Twitch users were filling up the live stream chat window with "FREE HK" and other similar sentiments. Brack was careful not to even mention the words "Hong Kong," but he did go on to pledge that Blizzard "will do better going forward" and that its actions "will matter more than any of these words."
Blizzard says 'we failed in our purpose' after Hearthstone Hong Kong controversy [Nick Statt/The Verge]