Since Oct. 5, the now-infamous gaming company Blizzard Entertainment has been under heavy scrutiny following the decision to ban pro-gamer Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung from a Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament after a match interview where he expressed support toward Hong Kong protesters.
Not only was Blitzchung banned from the tournament – an annual tournament where 48 gamers compete to earn from a pool of $500,000 – but the casters that interviewed him at the time had their contracts terminated with Blizzard.
Since Blizzard’s formal statement banning the player, the boycotts came in thick and fast. The Twitter hashtag #boycottblizzard started trending and U.S. senators even spoke out against Blizzard, claiming the company bent over backward to appease the Communist government.
There has been an uproar from the gaming community following the decision. Many players on the web have expressed disdain and disgust toward Blizzard. Gamers have called for a boycott toward the gaming company. Users on Reddit and gaming forums claimed to have uninstalled games, deleted accounts associated with Blizzard and disconnected with the company altogether.
Granted, Chung is from China and has no direct affiliation with Blizzard besides participating in the tournament, but the response from the gaming company did not convince me or the gamers that its decision was based on rule violation and not as a response directed by China.
In Blizzard’s formal statement, the company quoted a competition rule that states players should not engage in acts or conversations that “damage Blizzard’s image,” as if supporting a movement overseas damages Blizzard’s image in any shape or form.
I’m willing to interpret why Blizzard took the route they took, but the fact that they took it to an extent where they gave him a one-year ban and terminated the casters contracts, just shows that the company is trying too hard to save face with other entities. And that’s another thing, Blizzard Entertainment is based in the U.S. It is located in Irvine, right next door to us. Why is Blizzard bothering with appeasing a foreign power? Because that is obviously what the company is doing: bending over backwards for monetary gain. Because of this disgraceful act, the company must give Blitzchung his earnings – a total of $3,000 he has accumulated so far in the tournament – and Blizzard should allow him to be reinstated to his position in the tournament. Blizzard is not the only U.S.-based company that appears to be under scrutiny.
Apple and the NBA have come under fire for appearing to be in support of China and Hong Kong rather than the protesters.
While companies have rules and policies in place to protect their businesses, why do they always seem to be in favor of foreign policies rather than take a humanitarian route? The protests in China are not something that should be taken lightly. Citizens of good faith are fighting for justice and democracy, while companies seem to ignore the movement in order to appease a government that is screwing them over.
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