BlizzCon convention began amidst controversies at Disneyland in Anaheim. The event has been marked with the protests by several top gamers. #BoycottBlizzard was trending amidst gamers and social media platforms. Recently, the company banned a professional Hearthstone player for supporting pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.  Blizzard president J. Allen Brack wrote a letter to the Hearthstone community to explain the company’s decision: Though blitzchung had played fair in the Hearthstone event, Brack said the broadcast is not “a platform for divisive social or political views.”

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A Blizzard spokesperson told a gaming news website that the company welcomes “open, constructive, and civil discussion of different perspectives at the show,” noting that it will “have fan Q&A at certain panels as we normally do.”

On the Chinese social media site Weibo, the official Hearthstone account made clear the company’s motivation: “We will, as always, resolutely safeguard the country’s dignity.” That is, the dignity of the People’s Republic of China. In addition to banning the player, Chung Ng Wai, known online as Blitzchung, from tournament play for a year, the company stripped him of $10,000 in prize money and also fired the two commentators who hosted the broadcast.

Two protests are planned over the coming weekend at BlizzCon. On Facebook, more than 2,000 people have marked themselves interested or attending. On Discord, the “Gamers for Freedom” group has thousands of members, as does the Protest BlizzCon subreddit.