The Los Angeles times has reported that Blizzard employees have had their excitement for BlizzCon 2019 marred by the controversy surrounding the developer’s controversial stand on pro Hong Kong speech.
According to several current and former employees, BlizzCon is “like Christmas” for developers but the excitement has been “poisoned” by recent events. Not only have developers received backlash on social media, they are internally conflicted over the issue.
“A lot of people that would’ve been happy and excited are now feeling dread that something’s going to happen,” said one anonymous staffer. “You don’t know if it’s going to be people chanting outside. You don’t know if it’s going to be someone onstage. You don’t know if it’s going to be something dangerous that might actually hurt people.”
That’s precisely what happened yesterday.
Kotaku reported that more than 30 protesters gathered outside the BlizzCon 2019 convention center, holding signs and chanting slogans. It remains to be seen if protests will grow during the event.
For its part, Blizzard opened BlizzCon with a mea culpa, with J. Allen Brack later telling GameSpot that it’s been a “hard month” for the company.
“It’s been hard for the community. It’s been a hard month for the employees,” said Brack. “And I think there’s just been a lot of confusion and a lot of misinformation and a lot of challenges that everyone has had as a result. Frankly, there was never really a conversation where we weren’t going to do that because to not at least have a really straightforward conversation with our community about that would have appeared extremely tone-deaf in my mind.”
Brack didn’t mention if the company intends to change its stance but did say that Blizzard has a “culture of learning.”