Photo Illustration: Shannon Liao/ CNN
Now playing
02:29
Rapper Offset on why gaming could be bigger than hip-hop
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Google
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Now playing
01:09
Google Earth's new Timelapse feature shows 40 years of climate change in just seconds
Now playing
01:32
Scientists turned spiderwebs into music and it sounds like a nightmare
Elon Musk's Neuralink says this monkey is playing Pong with its mind
From Neuralink/Youtube
Elon Musk's Neuralink says this monkey is playing Pong with its mind
Now playing
01:41
Elon Musk's company says this monkey is playing Pong with his mind
CNN
Now playing
02:36
The truth behind Covid-19 vaccines for sale on the dark web
Now playing
05:41
NFTs have completely transformed these digital artists' lives
Boston Dynamics
Now playing
00:48
Boston Dynamics' newest robot has tentacle-like grippers
Energy and Commerce Committee/YouTube
Now playing
02:50
US lawmakers question tech CEOs on misinformation
Now playing
00:55
This robot's 'self-portrait' NFT just sold for nearly $700,000
Now playing
03:19
Slack CEO: We made an 'unforced error' in DM roll out
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10:  Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) speaks as Neera Tanden, President Joe Bidens nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appears before a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill on February 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization and has held senior advisory positions in Democratic politics since the Clinton administration. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) speaks as Neera Tanden, President Joe Bidens nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appears before a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill on February 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization and has held senior advisory positions in Democratic politics since the Clinton administration. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:04
Sanders: 'I don't feel comfortable' about Trump's Twitter ban
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23rd through to November 27th, 2021 in 17 cities across England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23rd through to November 27th, 2021 in 17 cities across England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:19
BetterUp CEO explains Prince Harry's role at the tech startup
An NFT digital home called Mars House by Krista Kim Studio Inc. has sold for $500,000
From Krista Kim Studio Inc./SuperRare
An NFT digital home called Mars House by Krista Kim Studio Inc. has sold for $500,000
Now playing
01:11
This digital home might cost more than your actual home
Justin Long appeared in Intel's new PC vs Mac commercial as the "PC Guy" (Source: Intel)
Intel
Justin Long appeared in Intel's new PC vs Mac commercial as the "PC Guy" (Source: Intel)
Now playing
01:03
Justin Long switches sides in new Mac vs PC commercials
Rally Studios
Now playing
02:13
One-shot drone video of bowling alley mesmerizes internet
MyHeritage
Now playing
01:01
Watch old photos come to life using AI
(CNN Business) —  

Amid a tumultuous few weeks, Activision Blizzard announced a handful of new video game titles, including “Overwatch 2” and “Diablo IV,” at its annual gaming convention in California on Friday.

Protesters gathered outside the event to advocate for free speech, support the Hong Kong protests and demand an apology from Blizzard for actions it took against players who engaged in protests.

“We moved too quickly in our decision and then to make matters worse, we were too slow to talk with all of you,” said president J. Allen Brack at the kick-off event on Friday. “I am sorry and I accept accountability.”

The American company has come under fire after it banned a Hong Kong player named Ng for shouting the popular protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” during a livestreamed post-match interview. Blizzard said the act violated its competition rules. Ng was initially stripped of his potential winnings and banned from competing for the next year.

Social media reacted in outrage after the news of the ban broke: Players posted images of them uninstalling or canceling subscriptions to hugely popular Blizzard games. Blizzard eventually shortened Ng’s ban and restored his winnings.

Brack added, “We will do better going forward. But our actions are going to matter more than any of these words. As you walk around this weekend, I hope it’s clear how committed we are to people expressing themselves.”

A photo taken of the protests in Anaheim, California as people begin to arrive and set up Friday.
Andrew Kane
A photo taken of the protests in Anaheim, California as people begin to arrive and set up Friday.

At the convention, Blizzard announced a sequel to the popular shooter game “Overwatch,” which is partly set in Toronto where heroes come to the aide of law enforcement. Still, like the original, it’s a competitive game and a professional esport.

The company also provided more details on the fourth version of its role-playing franchise “Diablo,” including an in-depth trailer and a playable demo for attendees. Some of the games Blizzard offers as a service, including “World of Warcraft” and the card game “Hearthstone,” received expansions this year, too.

Nomura Instinet analysts describe the Blizzard pipeline as being in a “dry spell,” but this year’s convention could be “one of the busiest in recent memory.”

Outside the event, Freedom Hong Kong, has been handing out 4,000 t-shirts with a pro-Hong Kong slogan to attendees.

Fight for the Future — a non-profit that promotes digital rights — also organized a protest. Expected to speak are two students from American University, Casey Chambers and Torin Wright, who were suspended from Blizzard esports events last month after they held up a “Free Hong Kong, boycott Blizz” sign during a collegiate-level championship match in solidarity with Ng.

“I decided to go to Blizzcon to continue to share the message, but I am also holding out hope that we can convince Blizzard to change its mind and apologize about this,” Chambers told CNN Business.

Dayton Young, product director at Fight for the Future and protest organizer, said some people are flying to California to attend the protests. He added the initial events captured the attention not only of gamers but members of Congress, including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who signed a public letter to Blizzard to “look beyond the bottom line” and protect freedom of speech. “And that’s really our crowd, as well,” Young told CNN Business. “We get people from all over the political spectrum with lots of different ideas and different goals for us.”

In a statement ahead of the event, Blizzard said: “We welcome open, constructive, and civil discussion of different perspectives at the show, and we do still plan to have fan Q&A at certain panels as we normally do. …The safety and security of our attendees is and has always been a top priority, and every year we iterate with new measures to bring our event even more up-to-date.”

The convention runs through Saturday evening.