Before the start of the opening ceremony at Blizzard's epic event, BlizzCon 2019, President Jay Allen Brack took the stage to say a statement in order to address the cloud of controversy that has hung around the Warcraft developer since early October.
Blizzard, in reaction to pro-Hearthstone player blitzchung expressing his political beliefs on an official stream, those beliefs being in support of the Hong Kong protests against China, the gaming giant banned the player and the streamers involved with the broadcast.
Later that week, Blizzard put out a statement late on a Friday explaining their reasoning and reversing part of their bans, giving blitzchung his prize money and rescinding the suspension to only 6 months versus the original suspension. Fans were quick to point out that Blizzard never actually apologized for the bans, but simply how they handled it, stating they acted too quickly.
On stage at BlizzCon, Brack reiterated this in his apology.
"Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together in a tog HS esports moment about a month ago. And we did not. We moved too quickly in our decision making, and then to make matters worse we were too slow to talk to all of you. When I think about what I’m most upset about, there’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 we failed in our purpose. And for that, I am sorry and I accept accountability."
In the statement, he lays out the purpose of Blizzard as he sees it - a way to bring players together regardless of background.
"So what exactly is our purpose? BlizzCon is demonstrating it even as we speak. We aspire to bring the world together in 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.
As an example, Blizzcon has people from 59 different countries from all around the world, here at the show today. And that is the positive power of video games, to transcend divisions that surround us in so many of our places. We will do better going forward. But our actions are going to matter more than any of these words."
After Brack's statement, BlizzCon kicked off in full force, officially unveiling Diablo IV, Overwatch 2 and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands among other announcements. You can watch the archive of the opening ceremony, including Brack's full statement, in the embed below.