Let’s talk about politics. We know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we cannot ignore an incident that happened over the weekend. Long story short – Blizzard has issued a ban for Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai, a Hearthstone pro from Hong Kong, who, during the official Asia-Pacific Grandmasters tournament stream, said “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!”.
As some of you might have already guessed, this incident quickly caught the public’s attention (including some Blizzard employees). It also gave birth to a new trend #BoycottBlizzard and fueled a hefty amount of threads popping up all over the internet expressing support for the banned player.
According to Blizzard, the official reason for banning Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai is the violation of the particular tournament rule which states:
“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 image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.”
However, most of the people are seeing this as a pander to the Chinese government. In their mind, Blizzard is worried about losing its insane profits from China. However, Blizzard argued their ruling by saying this: “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”. As always, the truth might be somewhere in between.
Currently, #BoycottBlizzard is now one of the most popular hashtags on Twitter, and even some Blizzard employees expressed their opinions on this matter – by covering up the two company values next to its headquarters.
It’s hard to know how all of this will turn out in the end, but it’s definitely not a good sign for Blizzard. Especially with only three weeks away from it’s annual BlizzCon.