Blizzard Entertainment has been facing a month of criticism following its, who it initially banned from competition after he appeared on camera wearing a mask similar to the protesters' and said "Liberate Hong Kong!"
On Friday, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack openedby apologizing for the company's handling of the controversy, and making a promise it will do better.
"Blizzard had an opportunity to bring the world together in a tough Hearthstone e-sports moment about a month ago," said Brack, in a statement as the event began. He said the company moved , named Blitzchung, and it was too slow to explain its decisions to the fans.
"We didn't live up to the high standards that we really set for ourselves," he added. "For that, I am sorry, and accept accountability."
Brack's comments come as Blizzard attempts to move past the controversy that's enveloped the company. Following Blizzard's early moves, critics complained that it was acting more on behalf of Tencent, the massive Chinese company that owns 5% of Activision Blizzard. Blizzard denied its relationship with China had anything to do with the decision to ban the Hong Kong sympathizer (even though a statement posted on Blizzard's official Weibo account appeared to contradict that, and some employees staged a walkout over it too).
In an effort to acknowledge protesters at Blizzcon, Brack said he hoped "it's clear how committed we are to everyone's right to express themselves in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of places. We've actually seen and heard many of you express yourself this morning."