BlizzCon's opening minutes began with Blizzard Entertainment's president, J. Allen Brack, taking the stage. As protesters outside of the Anaheim Convention Center voiced their discontent with a company that they once supported, Brack addressed an audience of hundreds that remain loyal to the company, despite its recent decision to penalize a Hearthstone player for using their platform to speak out against civil injustice.
"Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together in a tough Hearthstone e-sports 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 with all of you" Brack says the the crowd.
"When I think about what I'm most unhappy about is really two things:" Brack continued "We didn't live up to the high standards that we really set up for ourselves. And the second is: We failed in our purpose, and for that I am sorry and I accept accountability."
Throughout his speech, Brack showed some glimpses of sincerity. At times, I wanted to believe he was actually feeling the underlying weight of his message. However, as heartfelt as it seemed, this was as much of a scripted PR stunt as any other, and once the facade of vulnerability faded, it became abundantly clear that his words bore little to no substance or meaning.
Furthermore, Brack's speech contains all the trappings of a genuine apology, but also fails to address the real issue. He speaks of how BlizzCon celebrates the coming together of people from all walks of life whom share a common love for Blizzard franchises, but at no point mentions the fact that his company took actions against one of them for voicing their beliefs.
"I hope it's clear how committed we are to everyone's right to express themselves in all kinds of ways, in all kinds of places" Brack claims, clearly missing the point.
Despite Brack's many assertions that Blizzard is taking actionable steps to better itself, ultimately - nothing will come of this. Blitzchung is still facing a 6-month suspension from Blizzard-sponsored competitions, and at the end of the day, Blizzard is still more concerned with protecting its market interests than upholding any cursory values it claims to represent.