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The president of Blizzard admits that they handled the Blitzchung situation immaturely.
During BlizzCon, J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment, addressed the case of professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung who was banned from the competitive scene after publicly showing his support for Hong Kong’s protests in an interview.
A rash decision
Initially, Blitzchung received a one-year ban on official Blizzard tournaments, as well as the removal of the monetary prize he won at the Grandmasters, but shortly thereafter (due to international pressure), his sentence would be reduced to just 6 months of banning and he would receive his prize.
In response to the disaster caused by the Blizzard’s actions, its president, Allen Brack, felt the need to declare during BlizzCon 2019 that this had not been the right way to handle the situation and apologized (albeit badly) for the immaturity they committed.
Finally, in a more recent interview with Esports Observer, Brack opened up. He said that, as a company, they had never had a similar experience, so they did not have the maturity to face it – an interesting statement to make considering Blizzard has been no stranger to controversy over its 28 years.
“We have some immaturity as an organization in terms of how to think about it and how to deal with it,” says Brack. “No one had any idea that this was going to blow up to be the international incident that it has become. It’s been a challenging month for sure.
“We should have taken some time, we should have paused, we should have been more thoughtful around it,” he said. “And then tried to think about how do we want to move forward, and what’s the five-year decision as opposed to what’s this decision? What are the principles that we want to establish for the next five years? That didn’t happen.”
He takes all the blame of what happened, mentioning that the decision that was made against Blitzchung and the casters of the transmission was extremely rushed and that, if they relived it, they would take more time to analyze the situation before taking any action.
Brack says that from this situation he was dissatisfied with two things. The first was the fact that the situation escaped from their hands considering the high standards that he thinks fans have of the company, and the second is that they failed at their purpose in the industry.
Blizzard acted to clear their name
Brack took the opportunity to make clear some terms related to Hong Kong, politics, and some controversial responses of the company. He said users will still be able to discuss politics on Blizzard’s social networks, and that the Weibo publication where they said the measure was made to “defend the pride of China” had nothing to do with Blizzard offices in the USA.
He even indicated that, if they were asked for permission to publish it, the company would be flatly denied.
Although the ban on Blitzchung for 6 months will remain in force, Brack admits that they will try their best to regain consumer confidence.