Hong Kong protest: Blizzard reduces punishment for gamers
Official streams of game tournaments are supposed to be apolitical, Blizzard thinks. But the punishment against the gamer who demanded freedom for Hong Kong was too hard.
After criticism and protests, the computer games maker Blizzard has not repealed the punishment of professional gambler Ng Wai "Blitzchung" Chung, but at least mitigated it. Blitzchung had said after a victory in an e-sports tournament to the protests in his native Hong Kong. In Mandarin, he said at the Asia Pacific Hearthstone Grandmasters on October 6, "Free Hong Kong, the revolution of our time."
Then the organizer, the company Blizzard, had him locked for a year for tournaments and his prize money and earned his rank as Grand Master disclaimed. In addition, the two commentators were fired. They had expressed their agreement by hiding under the table during the testimony.
In protest, many players announced afterwards to delete their accounts. The hashtag #Blizzardboycott became a trend on Twitter and some US politicians like Senator Ron Wyden were critical. Blizzard humbled himself to please China, he tweeted. No US company should censor opinions just to make quick money.
His decision now reverses Blizzard at least partially. Blizzard President J. Allen Brack explained his company's position in a written statement. Thus, Blitzchung deliberately broke the rules of the tournament broadcast when he made his political statement. The official livestream should serve the tournament alone, because this is a place where everyone should feel welcome, so they want to stay there focused solely on the game, so Brack. Therefore one punished also the two interviewer.
Only six months lock
Critics blamed Blizzard for stinging the company in front of China. The country is an important market for the company. In addition, the Chinese group Tencent holds five percent of Blizzard shares. And in a statement that Blizzard had spread in Chinese after the ban, it was said that they wanted to protect the national dignity of China.
The company would not be the first to try to avoid trouble with the Chinese government for fear of financial loss. Just recently, Apple had removed an app from its offer that use the protesters in Hong Kong.
Brack contradicted that now. The concrete political statement was not the reason for the ban, the Blizzard president wrote. One did not try to suppress his opinion. But where she said it was out of place.
But they have realized that they acted hastily. Blitzchung played fair in the tournament, but fair play also includes fair play before and after the match. He should therefore receive his prize money as a compromise and also his rank as grandmaster of the game series will not be denied him. After a reduced ban of six months, he could start again with this rank if he wanted to. The moderators are likely to moderate tournaments again after six months.