Player Blitzchung in a Deep Hole
By: Philip Sanzone
Blizzard banned a player going by the name of Blitzchung. On Oct 8th 2019, he was in a Tawianize tournament for Hearthstone.
Reasons for his ban was simply because he supported Hong Kong’s freedom by wearing goggles and a respirator symbolizing gas; this is in reference to the fact that many peaceful protests in Hong Kong end up with Chinese police throwing tear gas.
After saying “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” the casters as well as the operating staff cut the stream. Blizzard banned him for a year saying “Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard’s image.”
In short, saying that anything that puts Blizzard in the hot seat with China, will hinder them making money and pushing products. Blitzchung later said in another interview that he just wanted to bring to light what is going on right now in Hong Kong and what the future of their freedom and democracy is yet to face.
After all of this, players took to social media and demanded the cancellation of subscriptions like World of Warcraft there biggest mmo in there catalog. Even the video game designer joined Mark Kern by uninstalling and ending his subscription.
Later tweeting, “We are in a situation where unlimited Communist money dictates our American values,” then another saying “We censor our games for China, we censor our movies for China. Now, game companies are silencing voices for freedom and democracy.”
This isn’t the only employee showing concern about the company’s ethics. Many are doing their part in the protest and boycott of Blizzard. Their parent company Activation is even feeling the heat with their new game Modern Warfare with loot boxes being the problem.
They announced that they will be going back to the battle pass system after all the backlash. There looks to be a correlation with that and the new sentiment shared by many fans of Blizzard.
By trying to do damage control they reduced the sentence of the ban and lifted the life time ban of the casters to a year. The ban for Blizchung is now 6 months; plus they are giving him his prize money back. This just angered fans who responded by saying that Chiniese influence had nothing to do with their decision.
This made only made the situation worsen.
Increasing the amount of animosity towards the company, they even said in one post in Mandarin that they were abhorred and ashamed by the player.
Because faith in the company is low and their stock prices are slowly declining, experts are saying to sell. Overall the company has no words towards the mass movement for Hong Kong and the hatred people have towards Blizzard.
With everything that has been done by the company, other companies like Riot are taking advantage. By releasing their own card game and fps, it looks to compete with Blizzard’s Overwatch and Hearthstone; they even came out with RPG that can rival Diablo.
This might impact Blizzard’s stock more and the company might have a rough few years ahead of it. This is especially true since not many people are sympathetic with how Blizzard handled the entire situation.
If they completely took back what they said and had a centralized moral standpoint people might forgive their transgressions, but who knows. They are a company that wants money so the likelihood of that is far off, but this could be the nail in the head for many of their games since Overwatch and Hearthstone were having problems with the fan base already.