The massively successful game company Blizzard Entertainment seems to have been making a name for themselves this year—and that’s not in a good way.
On October 7th,
the corporation recently banned Chung “Blitzchung” Ng
Wai, a professional Hearthstone player, during a high-stakes Hearthstone
tournament that was being hosted by Blizzard for expressing his political
During a post-game interview, Chung Ng Wai put on a mask
similar to those that was seen in the Hong Kong protests and proceeded to say
while on air: “Liberate
Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” The two announcers interviewing the player ducked at the statement and
immediately went to a commercial break.
from Blizzard was swift at this move; only taking action just a few hours after
the event was broadcasted live on Twitch. Blitzchung was banned for playing
Hearthstone for a year as well as losing all of his earnings within the
tournament. The company also decided to suspend the announcers that were
interviewing Blitzchung, although the reasons for this are yet to be known.
Blitzchung’s ban, his statement seems to have made a much larger impact than it
could have ever hoped for. Since the statement, Blizzard has constantly been
under pressure for requests to unban him. Many people across the world are
cancelling their BattleNet accounts, and Blizzard’s stock is evidently tanking.
Alongside this, many former Blizzard fans are scrapping their games and/or
merchandise and accusing the company of “Giving in to Chinese censorship.”
the Hong Kong protests, some users on Reddit have taken the
liberty of using an ethnically Chinese character from Blizzard’s massively
successful game Overwatch and turning her into a figurehead for the
while, Blizzard seemed that they were going to remain silent on this matter; as
per the usual—the company has had a reputation of simply letting controversy fly
under their radar despite public outcry.
on Friday, October 12th, Blizzard released an official statement with
no forewarning about the overall situation. In short, their statement reads:
“The specific views expressed
by Blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear:
our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.” The statement also
concludes that Blitzchung’s ban will be halved to six months alongside the
casters, and he will now be able to receive his prize money from the
the statement, Blitzchung himself responded in a blog post and
thanked Blizzard for their reconsideration of his suspension, although he did mention
that they should also reconsider the terms of the announcer’s suspensions.
does not mean that Blizzard is out of hot water by any means though. If
anything, their situation has gotten worse. Many people on twitter and even Reddit
have started the ‘Boycott Blizzard’ trend which has led to even more backlash towards
their company. And with internal struggles running high such as staff members walking
out to them simply quitting their jobs, who’s to say what’s to come for the