Protests Have Been Going On All Day Outside Of Blizzcon, Rallying Against Hong Kong Controversy

Protests Have Been Going On All Day Outside Of Blizzcon, Rallying Against Hong Kong Controversy
Credit: GameSpot News via YouTube

Inside the Anaheim Convention Center, the gaming convetion Blizzcon is in full swing, announcing breaking news about beloved game franchises. However, outside the building, protestors are rallying against the company that is putting on the event.

The convention is an annual event put on by game developer Blizzard Entertainment.

Why are there protests?

Blizzard decided to ban Hearthstone Grandmasters player Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung for asserting a pro-Hong Kong statement during a live Blizzard eSports event. He was initially banned for one year from Blizzard eSport events and had his prize earnings revoked by Blizzard.

What is happening with the protests?

Gamers for Freedom, a campaign put on by Fight for the Future, as well as other groups have been protesting outside since this morning. The protest aims to bring attention to game developers infringing on players’ fundamental civil rights like freedom of speech.

The protestors have been handing out free t-shirts with the Overwatch character Mei on them along with the text “Mei with Hong Kong.” Mei has been a symbol of the conflict with Blizzard.

There has been dozens of people holding pro-Hong Kong signs like “Free Democracy” and “Free Hong Kong.”

There was also a staged protest inside the convention center. During the Hearthstone stage segment, fans from around the room stood up out of their chairs and walked out in a sign of protest.

Here is a tweet from Fight for the Future about the protest:

Typically, Blizzcon is put on by Blizzard to market its game franchises through grand reveals and interactive experiences. Today, they have already made game announcements about Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, and Diablo 4.

However, for the fans of Blizzard, this event isn’t just about game reveals. It’s about letting Blizzard know that their fans do not agree with some of their decisions that they’ve made.

Blizzard has been walloped by conflict from fans and even US legislators since the decision to ban blitzchung. So much so that they have reduced the gamer’s suspension to six months and returned his prize earnings.

The company apologized for the first time earlier today at the start of the Blizzcon opening ceremony. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack said, “I am sorry, and I accept accountability. What exactly is our purpose? BlizzCon is demonstrating it as we speak. We aspire to bring the world together in epic entertainment. I truly believe in the positive power of video games.”

He goes on to talk about the hard work that has gone into this weekend, however, he never actually addresses blitzchung or the suspension directly.

It will be interesting to see what the public reaction is to the formal apology.