Although BlizzCon 2019 has brought a number of new announcements, Blizzard was consistently in the news leading up to the event following the company’s decision to ban Hearthstone player Blitzchung. Recently Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stated that entire situation leading up to the annual event was a ‘nightmare for everyone’.
Brack’s latest comments came during an interview with IGN. During the interview, he said, “We’re big believers in free expression. I’m personally a big believer in free expression. So, it’s a little interesting for me personally to be a person who's involved in not being a supporter. The supporters there are welcome. Protest is part of what it is to be in our culture.”
He continued, “I think this has been a humbling incident for Blizzard, really across the board, if you think about how this has really, kind of, taken over and kind of taken on a life of its own. I think there’s a lot of work that we want to kind of continue to do, to think about how to prevent something like this from ever happening again. It’s been a – I think – a nightmare for all involved.”
While the initial ban garnered interests from the community, it only got worse following the official comment made on Hearthstone's Weibo account. However, Blizzard’s president claimed that the statement was not made by Blizzard since the account is operated by Chinese publisher NetEase. He said, “I think there is a lot of confusion around how publishing games work in China. We are not legally allowed to publish our games in China. We must have a partner… in this case, Netease.”
“It is their quote. It is their employees that made that quote. It is not something that we approved. It is not something that we would have approved. It is not something that we feel like is representative of Blizzard.”
While Brack had delivered an apology to the community during the opening ceremony, it wasn’t particularly well received among fans.