So Blizzard finally responded to their decision to ban Hearthstone player Blitzchung for an entire year and revoke his tournament pay over comments made by the player in regards to his support for Hong Kong’s fight for liberation. And it’s exactly what you’d expect, lies to save face.
Here’s the blog where they stated that their decision to ban Blitzchung was not motivated by China’s influence:
Part of Thinking Globally, Leading Responsibly, and Every Voice Matters is recognizing that we have players and fans in almost every country in the world. Our goal is to help players connect in areas of commonality, like their passion for our games, and create a sense of shared community.
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.
Now, you could say that “hey, maybe they’re just following usual procedure“, and that would be fine, until you find the official statement made by the Chinese Weibo account that made it quite clear that Blizzard was heavily motivated and influenced by China to take action:
just as the NBA's original Chinese Weibo statement was pretty harsh on Daryl Morey compared to the English statement, Blizzard's official Hearthstone Weibo post made an additional comment condemning blitzchung and defending 'the pride of China'https://t.co/uG6fjpcYhB pic.twitter.com/HBGdjDlwVm
— Rod 'keydaddy' Breslau (@Slasher) October 9, 2019
So we can say that their attempt at damage control is a bust. There’s no saving them at this point. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Blizzcon 2019 will go. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if they cancelled it at this point. I’ve seen people take sides for China and have begun to attack or belittle gamers for their “sudden” fight against censorship, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Gamers are one of the most actively passionate people on this planet. When we don’t like something, we take action, so Blizzard will really have to rethink twice about their Blizzcon event. I made a video talking about my thought on this whole Blizzard PR crisis, which you can find here.
Let me know what you guys think about it.