Blizzard Responds To Hong Kong Backlash In Contradicting New Statement
Blizzard has been hit with a storm of backlash lately over their recent decision regarding a professional Hearthstone player. Following his outspoken stance in favor of the recent Hong Kong protests, Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai was hit with a year-long ban and had his prize money winnings seized, resulting in an intense public backlash from those in and outside the gaming community. Though Blizzard offered rule-based reasoning behind their decision, concerns were nonetheless raised that the punishment may have been motivated by censorship.
Blizzard has now issued a response addressing the widespread controversy, assuring the game-maker’s dedication to players’ free speech and why they ultimately decided to Blitzchung in the first place. “At Blizzard, our vision is ‘to bring the world together through epic entertainment,'” read Blizzard’s statement. “And we have core values that apply here: Think Globally; Lead Responsibly; and importantly, Every Voice Matters, encouraging everybody to share their point of view. The actions that we took over the weekend are causing people to question if we are still committed to these values. We absolutely are and I will explain.”
“Over the weekend, blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong—in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action,” Blizzard’s post continued. “Every Voice Matters, and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game.”
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. We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and on the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took. If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same.”
With all this said, Blizzard appears to have contradicted their previous stance in banning Blitzchung and his fellow casters for such a lengthy duration, having now reduced the punishment to six months before they can once again participate in Hearthstone pro tournaments. “When we think about the suspension, six months for blitzchung is more appropriate, after which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses,” Blizzard explained. “With regard to the casters, remember their purpose is to keep the event focused on the tournament. That didn’t happen here, and we are setting their suspension to six months as well.”
“Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament rules to ensure our official broadcasts remain focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views,” the company concluded. “At Blizzard, we are always listening and finding ways to improve—it is part of our culture. Thank you for your patience with us as we continue to learn.”
What do you think? Did Blizzard’s response adequately address the situation, or do you feel that Blitzchung still did not do anything wrong? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more headlines recently featured on DFTG, check out these next few news stories:
Eric Hall1971 Posts
Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his weekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.