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News - BlizzCon 2019: Blizzard Addresses Hong Kong Hearthstone Banning Controversy

BlizzCon 2019: Blizzard Addresses Hong Kong Hearthstone Banning Controversy

It's been a wild couple of weeks for Blizzard, following the company's decision to punish professional Hearthstone player Ng Wai Chung (aka Blitzchung) after he used a post-match interview to express his support of the Hong Kong protests. Though Blizzard already released an official apology for its actions, the company took advantage of its platform at BlizzCon 2019 to further address the situation, although it didn't acknowledge any specifics about what it had done.

"Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together in a Hearthstone tournament," company president J. Allen Brack said. "We did not. We moved too quickly in our decision making, and to make matters worse we were too slow to talk with you. We didn't live up to the high standards we really set for ourselves, and second, we failed in our purpose. I'm sorry, and I accept accountability."

Brack went on to talk about BlizzCon being an opportunity to showcase the global community for its games, and promised, "We will do better going forward."

In response to the original ban against Blitzchung, a protest was organized that is currently ongoing just outside BlizzCon. "That Blizzard has shown a willingness to re-evaluate their decision is a small step in the right direction, but make no mistake; Blizzard continues to punish these individuals despite widespread outrage from gamers around the world," protest organizer Dayton Young said in a statement to GameSpot.

"We understand that game publishers and developers have a responsibility to moderate the content that appears on their platforms to ensure that gamers are safe from harassment, threats of violence, and other dangerous behavior," he continued. "But silencing gamers who speak up about issues that affect their freedom makes us all less safe from oppression and institutional abuse."

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