The Blizzard Hong Kong controversy is escalating. Following an incident exactly where a professional Hearthstone player stated a pro-Hong Kong message in a post-game interview and was subsequently banned for a year, players, personnel, government officials, and even Epic Games are chiming in with their commentary (and protests of their personal) on the way Blizzard decided to deal with the predicament.
Here’s a bit of background if you happen to be out of the loop: lately, Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai was in a post-match interview for the duration of the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament for the Asia-Pacific area. A Hong Kong native, he took the chance to don a gas mask and goggles, stating, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” in his native tongue.
Given that then Rod Breslau has also posted a translation of the Chinese Weibo post that went out, which had harsher language than the English version.
Soon after this occurred, Blizzard elected to ban Blitzchung for a year and refuse to spend him his winnings from the tournament. In addition, they ended their experienced partnership with each of the casters who have been interviewing him. That would be exactly where the difficulty started.
Outraged Fans Make Mei Pro HK
Suffice it to say, a significant quantity of Blizzard fans have been extremely unhappy with the predicament. A discussion thread or meme held the best positions on Reddit’s /r/all subreddit (which tracks the most common submissions across the website) for the improved portion of yesterday and quite a few memes and other posts continue to rank very across several subreddits.
Amongst the quite a few protests more than the Blizzard Hong Kong controversy is an work to associate Mei from Overwatch with the pro-Hong Kong movement in a series of memes, with some customers jokingly insinuating that it will get the game banned in China. One particular individual even went as far as to make an whole fan edit of a portion of Mei’s animated quick:
If we are gonna do it, we are gonna do it significant: Mei becomes the icon of Hong Kong revolution! from r/HongKong
Numerous other customers have stated that they are halting WoW Classic subscriptions, uninstalling Blizzard Battle.net, or outright deleting their account. One particular Hong Kong-primarily based played (who claims that he’s reached the rank of Legend and spent much more than $10,000 on the game) also publicly quit. I would hyperlink to much more person examples, but there are actually hundreds if not thousands swing by /r/Hearthstone to see just a compact sampling of them.
Moreover, players from the American University group held up a pro-Hong Kong sign for the duration of a TESPA tournament livestream, echoing the sentiments expressed by Blitzchung in his original act. The stream rapidly reduce away from their sign.
Staff Quietly Rebel More than Blizzard Hong Kong Controversy
Anybody who worked at a significant firm has most likely dealt with management producing choices they disagreed with and Blizzard is no distinct. One particular former employee noted that the “Feel Globally” and “Every single Voice Matters” plaques on the firm campus had been covered up by personnel:
Not every person at Blizzard agrees with what occurred.
Each the “Feel Globally” and “Every single Voice Matters” values have been covered up by incensed personnel this morning. pic.twitter.com/I7nAYUes6Q
— Kevin Hovdestad (@lackofrealism) October 8, 2019
Moreover, a protest took spot on the campus exactly where personnel stood with open umbrellas about a Warcraft statue, most likely in reference to the 2014 “Umbrella Movement” protests in Hong Kong exactly where citizens created use of umbrella to shield themselves from police pepper spray.
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reports that he’s heard that Blizzard President J. Allen Brack will be addressing the company’s personnel these days.
Epic Games and Gods Unchained Chime In
Epic Games — a firm that is no stranger to controversy itself — has also decided to speak up about the Blizzard Hong Kong controversy.
“Epic supports everyone’s ideal to express their views on politics and human rights,” an Epic Games representative told The Verge. “We wouldn’t ban or punish a Fortnite player or content material creator for speaking on these subjects.”
Blizzard’s other competitors is not shying away from the chance to speak up, either a blockchain-primarily based collectible card game called Gods Unchained has promised to spend Blitzchung’s forfeited prize dollars and invited him to 1 of their upcoming tournaments with a prize pool of $500,000:
.@Blizzard_Ent just banned @blitzchungHS and stripped his Hearthstone winnings simply because they care about dollars much more than freedom. We will spend for ALL his lost winnings and a ticket to our $500k tournament: no player should really be punished for their beliefs. #freegaming https://t.co/ONvtkG4x9G
— Gods Unchained (@GodsUnchained) October 8, 2019
Politicians Condemn Blizzard’s Actions
Far be it from a politician to miss a superior likelihood to sound off. Political figures in quite a few nations have spoken up about the Blizzard Hong Kong controversy, as well.
United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has tweeted about the concern, accusing them of censoring people today in order to make “a fast buck”.
Blizzard shows it is prepared to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Celebration. No American firm should really censor calls for freedom to make a fast buck. https://t.co/rJBeXUiwYS
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) October 8, 2019
Norwegian parliament member Grunde Almeland has also decided to speak up.
“As a international corporation, you are not with out energy or duty when it comes to supporting basic human rights,” Mr. Almeland stated. “In truth, the actions created should really be viewed as political statements themselves.”
“If players can not be specific that their rights will be protected, and that your firm does not deal with them in a just manner, I do not see how it would be feasible for cities or national organizations to help any additional tournaments to be held inside the games you personal the rights for.”
Blizzard appears to be beneath fire from each and every conceivable path among irate fans, Blizzard personnel, politicians, and even their competitors. What could have been a quick PR gaffe is continuing to develop and the firm will have to address it sooner rather than later.
What do you feel of the progression of the Blizzard Hong Kong controversy? Do you feel the firm should really adjust their choice on Blitzchung’s 12-month ban and forfeiture of his prize? Let us know in the comments beneath!