Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Blizzard Bans Pro-Esports Player For Supporting Hong Kong Protests

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment
Cecil Davis | 13 October, 2019, 02:45

You must be hearing news about a professional gamer getting banned for supporting Hong Kong Protests?

Blizzard is figuring out its next moves following a massive outcry after the company banned a Hong Kong Hearthstone esports pro. Their fears proved understandable, given Blizzard's response.

US Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden also chastised the actions of Blizzard on Twitter. This is going to be bad news for Blizzard, given that the company is aiming to reverse its massive gaffe in last year's convention after it announced that they're planning to create a "Diablo" mobile game. I don't doubt businesses fear losing access to the potentially huge Chinese market.

Former notable employees at Blizzard have voiced their anger at the company for banning Chung, as well.

The inciting incident took place on October 6. He informed Blizzard of his withdrawal in order to protest the recent suspension of Blitzchung, following the latter's post-game rallying cry for Hong Kong independence which has continued to gather steam today. The stream quickly cut to commercial, and on-demand footage has since been pulled from the internet. A spokesman told Engadget that they are considering their options about how to handle the matter, but has said nothing since.

"I feel what Blitzchung did was very courageous", Kibler said in the beginning of the statement on his website.

The protests and reactions have come at a bad time for Blizzard, just ahead of their important annual BlizzCon event, which is slated to get underway in November. Blizzard is also withholding any prize money he would have earned from competing in the tournament. Blizzard said Blitzchung's comments had violated the competition rules by damaging the company's image.

"While we stand by one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules", the company wrote.

"On its Hearthstone board, a redditor Hinz97 said in a post", I play [Hearthstone] everyday, I climbed to Legend several times. As a result, the game-publishing giant has faced criticism from gamers, employees, and politicians in the U.S.

Acting US homeland security chief McAleenan resigns
Shortly following the president's announcement, McAleenan issued a farewell statement on Twitter, thanking Trump for his support. Homeland Security has been the cabinet post with the highest turnover in the Trump administration at this point.

Many players on the Hearthstone subreddit have declared they're quitting the game due to Chung's ban, a sentiment that's shared by many across the internet, as #BoycottBlizzard continues to trend on social media, and searches for how to delete battle.net accounts have been climbing.

Mark Kern, Team Lead for Vanilla World of Warcraft tweeted, "This hurts".

"I invite Blizzard to reconsider their position". "But if Hong Kong loses, it will be for life".

Prominent Hearthstone caster and analyst Brian Kibler will not be casting the Hearthstone Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon.

"The punishment meted out to Blitzchung is incredibly harsh", stated Kibler on Wednesday.

"I fully support Blitzchung's right to protest and have vast sympathy for his cause and for the plight of the Hong Kong people".

Blizzard responded by stripping Blitzchung of his prize money and barring him from "Hearthstone" competitions for one year.

Some of Blizzard's staff staged their own protest this week in the form of a walkout, according to Daily Beast.

A political movement that has been unfolding in Hong Kong in the past few months spilled into the gaming industry this week.