Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime opened the BlizzCon 2017 fan event today with a message of friendship and inclusivity.
He delivered this amid the storms of social media bickering that have surrounded games and politics in the past few years. Morhaime made it clear that such enmity should have no place at BlizzCon or the game industry.
“BlizzCon isn’t only about the games and announcements,” he said to a crowd of thousands in the Anaheim convention center. “It’s also about the relationships we create and strengthen when we come together. … There are no strangers at BlizzCon, only friends you haven’t met yet. This is the most incredible family reunion in the world.”
That’s consistent with the message Blizzard has delivered over the previous 10 BlizzCon events.
He added, “Our community has grown tremendously in the last few years. We are welcoming a lot of new people into our family. I encourage you to welcome them online and make them feel welcome at our show. Let’s show them what a special community this is, a community of shared values and shared passion. There’s a lot of craziness out in the world. We don’t have to let that be part of our world.”
Clearly, there are veiled references here, but Morhaime always has a way of speaking about something but staying on a higher plane. He doesn’t sink into partisan politics. But these statements also didn’t address the toxicity you can find playing the competitive modes in Hearthstone or Overwatch.
He said, “If we make an effort to be kind and welcoming in our games and in our community, we will make a positive impact. And that positivity will go out in to the wider world. A friend of mine once said, ‘Never accept the world for what it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be.'”
Blizzard’s opening video also had a message of inclusivity from Blizzard employees of all stripes.