All week, we’ve been covering the absolute chaos surrounding the punishment of pro Hearthstone esports player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung, whom Blizzard banned along with two Taiwanese commentators earlier this week more than a pro-Hong Kong protest in the course of a post-match interview in Taiwan. Blizzard also clawed back $10K in tournament winnings from Ng, citing vague tournament guidelines that primarily enable the studio to bar everyone from competitors for any purpose. The move sparked new protests and resignations from other pro teams and casters, condemnation from politicians left and appropriate, coverage from mainstream news, account deletions and de-subs boycotts from players, and anguish from its personal staff, who mentioned the company’s internal policy all week has been as absent as any message to its players about the globe.
Now, Blizzard has ultimately broken its silence.
Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack posted a missive tonight (yes, incredibly late on a Friday evening, which is when you post news you want to bury, not news you are proud of) arguing that Blizzard nonetheless stands by its values and insisting that in truth the firm was merely enforcing its guidelines, that “the particular views expressed by blitzchung had been NOT a element in the choice [Blizzard] created,” and that “relationships in China had no influence on [that] choice.” Nonetheless, he admits, “In hindsight, our course of action wasn’t sufficient, and we reacted as well rapidly.”
“In the tournament itself blitzchung *played* fair. We now think he should really acquire his prizing. We comprehend that for some this is not about the prize, and possibly for other people it is disrespectful to even go over it. That is not our intention. But playing fair also contains acceptable pre-and post-match conduct, specifically when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. When we assume about the suspension, six months for blitzchung is much more acceptable, following which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit once again if he so chooses. There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the goal of the occasion and disrupting or derailing the broadcast. With regard to the casters, don’t forget their goal is to retain the occasion focused on the tournament. That didn’t come about right here, and we are setting their suspension to six months as nicely. Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament guidelines to guarantee our official broadcasts stay focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views.”
“One of our ambitions at Blizzard is to make positive that each and every player, everywhere in the globe, regardless of political views, religious beliefs, race, gender, or any other consideration generally feels protected and welcome each competing in and playing our games,” Brack concludes. It is not clear how Ng’s protest did otherwise.
We advocate absolutely everyone study the entire letter, as Brack – or whoever actually wrote this – spends rather a bit of work defending Blizzard’s original choices, and he does not truly apologize to Ng, the casters, or the playerbase.
The #boycottblizzard hashtag on Twitter, which had slowed down by this afternoon, has now taken off once again.
Our comprehensive coverage of this week’s mess is right here:
Update 9:00 PM EDT
The letter also does not address the bizarre situations beneath which the casters had been allegedly initially dismissed or even clarify what it is they did to violate their contracts.
And of course, as we reported earlier, an American University Hearthstone esports group protested against Blizzard with pro-Hong Kong indicators in the course of a match earlier this week and was not punished in accordance with the policies Brack just told absolutely everyone had nothing at all to do with China and almost everything to do with rule-abiding, top the complete group to forfeit the rest of the season more than Blizzard’s hypocrisy.
Update 11:50 PM EDT