Earlier today Blizzard announced that Hearthstone player Blitzchung will be stripped of his price money for "Grandmasters Season 2" and be banned from participating in official Hearthstone tournaments for a year. This is following him proclaiming support for the protests in Hong Kong in a live post-match interview on stream. The two casters conducting the interview were reportedly also fired.I am deeply disappointed in Blizzard. I don't expect them to support Hong Kong explicitly, or anything like that. Indeed, maybe they don't. But Freedom of Speech--especially in political matters--is the core Enlightenment value, the one from which all the others flow.
Blizzard has decided that preserving access to the Chinese market by appeasing the repressive Chinese government is worth betraying those values. I am disgusted by their spinelessness.
I have cancelled my subscription, and will boycott Blizzard, until such time as they come to their senses and remember who they should be.
For Blitzchung, I repeat his words, the ones which got him banned:
Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age.
This and the NBA thing really puts into light how far companies will bend for money. It's sad, but at the same time maybe events like these wake more people up and more people actually start to care.ReplyDelete
I'm one of the ones letting my sub die. While I hope they come to their senses and do their best to recover from this self-inflicted PR wound, I suspect they won't. I suspect they will do everything during Blizzcon to pretend this didn't occur. I wonder if anyone there will have the guts to make a comment during any of the Q&As.ReplyDelete
I say this as someone who can understand engaging with China, but I also want companies to have limits as to how far they will go to bend over for China. :sigh:
Thanks for the information. Unsubscribing today as soon as I get home and I have the authenticator in my hands.ReplyDelete
Good for you, Rohan! I quit WoW a while back, but I'd be cancelling over this as well.ReplyDelete
There was an interesting article in the Economist about how recent leaders have changed the tune that the purpose of a company is to return maximum value to shareholders, but instead to "do good". IT was fascinating to read many a take that corporations should indeed just exist to profit. (and that ultimately allows shareholders to do the good with the profits that are returned to them. Otherwise, it creates a dynamic that corporations pick and choose what is and isn't important. It was interesting, and I am very curious what (if any) impact this has on Blizzard - but even more curious how they respond. They will be unable to ignore it, that's for sure.ReplyDelete
(I quit WoW a LONG time ago, and don't use any of their products, so have nothing to throw in here except mild interest to see how it all unfolds!)
Well, it looks like it worked. While sanctioning the casters is still weird, the current penalty is a lot more in line with what should be expected.ReplyDelete
There's never been any expectation that you have "freedom of speech" when participating in a Hearthstone tournament.ReplyDelete