'I care about Blizzard but the Hong Kong situation is dire': the gaming convention rocked by protest

'I care about Blizzard but the Hong Kong situation is dire': the gaming convention rocked by protest

Rebecca April May 08/11/2019

This year’s BlizzCon, a 35,000-strong event in California for fans of World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Hearthstone, was embroiled in a battle over free speech and China

Eric did not imagine this would be how he would spend his first BlizzCon. The 26-year-old World of Warcraft (WoW) player from Glendale, California, was at the annual fan event in Anaheim held by Blizzard, the games company behind global hits such as Warcraft, Overwatch and more. Each year, more than 35,000 people pack into the city’s vast convention centre to play games, attend talks and share in their fandom.

But at this year’s event, held last weekend, there was a different feel. Instead of WoW cosplay, Eric was sporting a mask as worn by Hong Kong protesters to shield their faces from tear gas and facial recognition. And rather than joining in with the hype during panels about the forthcoming World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion, he was outside the convention centre handing out “Liberate Hong Kong” flyers, adorned with the protestors’ adopted symbol, the Overwatch character Mei.

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