Wednesday, October 9th 2019

Blizzard Employees Protest Company's Blitzchung Ban

Blizzard employees protested the company's decision to ban Hearthstone player "Blitzchung" from an event for his opinions on the ongoing situation in Hong Kong SAR. Some employees covered up a portion of a floor decal in the company's office that read "Think Globally," and "Every Voice Matters," in protest. Blizzard's MMORPGs are "massively" popular in China, with Chinese Internet giant Tencent holding an equity stake. Some see the move to ban "Blitzchung" as the company "bending the knee" to China by taking a position on the situation in Hong Kong, instead of remaining neutral. The picture of a ruled piece of paper covering up the company floor decal with duct tape was tweeted by former Blizzard employee and eSports industry observer Kevin Hovdestad.
Source: Kevin Hovdestad (Twitter)
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59 Comments on Blizzard Employees Protest Company's Blitzchung Ban

#1
londiste
Do we want e-sport to be a thing?
Political statements are (severely) frowned upon and usually cause disciplinary punishments in big sports competitions.
Posted on Reply
#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
londiste, post: 4129893, member: 169790"
Do we want e-sport to be a thing?
Political statements are (severely) frowned upon and usually cause disciplinary punishments in big sports competitions.
If you can't vent it out in sport, then let there be war.
Posted on Reply
#3
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
londiste, post: 4129893, member: 169790"
Do we want e-sport to be a thing?
Political statements are (severely) frowned upon and usually cause disciplinary punishments in big sports competitions.
Yes, and so? Because one industry works like that does not mean another should.
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#4
Xzibit
Lets go to the CCTV playback to see whos getting fired this week.
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#5
1d10t
Kneeling at national anthem v2.
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#6
my_name_is_earl
Pondering to a country that is one of the worst human rights problem is no way a good sign. RIP Blizzard. I will never buy your game again. Blizzard has been downhill since they ponder to the Chinese mobile market. These type of companies don't cared about what's right or wrong, it's all about the money.
Posted on Reply
#7
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
londiste, post: 4129893, member: 169790"
Do we want e-sport to be a thing?
Political statements are (severely) frowned upon and usually cause disciplinary punishments in big sports competitions.
btarunr, post: 4129897, member: 43587"
If you can't vent it out in sport, then let there be war.
Bob Costa comes to mind...
https://www.mediaite.com/online/bob-costas-mistake-to-make-controversial-gun-comments-during-halftime-report/
...if NBC (who he worked for) didn't support his position, he would have been fired. Grandstanding is generally not tolerated in the media and especially not when it degrades sponsors.


I don't have the full context of what Blitzchung did or said so I can't really comment on the thread topic other than to ask why these details aren't provided?

Edit: https://variety.com/2019/gaming/news/blizzard-bans-blitzchung-hearthstone-hong-kong-china-statement-1203363050/
Blizzard cited its tournament rule that prohibits players from “Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”
I kind of see where Blizzard is coming from but...what they did to Blitzchung is exactly what China is doing to Hong Kongers (suppression). That doesn't sit right with me.

my_name_is_earl, post: 4129919, member: 66600"
These type of companies don't cared about what's right or wrong, it's all about the money.
I think that's precisely why they chose China. If Blizzard got firewalled by China like the NBA did, it will cause significant financial loss so, they obeyed the mighty dollar by shutting it down as fast as they could and banning him. A lot of Hong Kongers will protest the move by boycotting the company but that still pales in comparison to the millions playing in China.
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#8
londiste
Blizzard's PR is awful. Their point is that they want to stay away from politics of any kind. This is not their interest or area of doing business. It is not supporting China or being on China's side as this is being painted. Blizzard was used as a platform for conveying a political message. There are immediate questions of boundaries and liabilities when this is allowed or supported.

Neither what I posted here nor what Blizzard is doing is commentary on the situation in Hong Kong.
Posted on Reply
#9
MDBumblebee
Blizzard; you know what brings disrepute to your company? Kowtowing to a Communist dictatorship who not only suppresses Hong Kong but also 11 million Muslim Uyghurs among others.
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#11
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Ignore it. If it results in firewalling, there will be a lot of pissed off Chinese people directing their anger where it belongs (China's firewall that shouldn't exist and their leadership that decides what is and isn't approved for consumption).
Posted on Reply
#12
lynx29
Hi my name is Blizzard, I make my employees follow 8 rules of ethics to preserve a healthy work environment, but the moment the Chinese markets turn on us is the moment we lose tons of potential future revenue due to pure volume, so we will ignore some of our ethics in pursuit of that future capital.

Basically that is all there is to see here.
Posted on Reply
#13
Lightning
Some chinese that "spent half of his life there" said the people there turn a blind eye to their freedoms being non-existent (privacy, freedom-of-speech etc) and uphold their governement's shenanigans because of their own economic growth these past years, caused by their government. From reddit, don't remember which of the posts, there's many of them.
And I'm like... not even the chinese will fight for their freedoms as long as they have a bit more money than they did in the past.
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#14
sepheronx
Lightning, post: 4129997, member: 166531"
Some chinese that "spent half of his life there" said the people there turn a blind eye to their freedoms being non-existent (privacy, freedom-of-speech etc) and uphold their governement's shenanigans because of their own economic growth these past years, caused by their government. From reddit, don't remember which of the posts, there's many of them.
And I'm like... not even the chinese will fight for their freedoms as long as they have a bit more money than they did in the past.
What difference is that anywhere else?

I guarantee you wont go out and protest the crap your government does if it means you may lose your lively hood. I recall many years ago there was a Free Tibet protest going in front of the Chinese Consulate here, and my friend and I just passed through. The company I worked for at the time saw both of us on TV and said that they do not take lightly political stances. What saved me was the fact we werent there to protest but walking by. This is Canada BTW.

As for events in HK - A friend of mine who lived in HK For many years growing up under British Rule - It wasn't great. I have no idea how they are treated now. But when I see these protesters waving the Union Jack it makes me question the whole ordeal. Let alone them beating the crap out of civilians because they are mainland Chinese people.

As for what is going on here - it makes sense. Tencent (SP?) owns a huge portion of Activison/Blizzard. Plus, they are aiming away from political motivations in their events.
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#15
yakk
Blizzard, meet NBA....
Posted on Reply
#16
Khonjel
Ultimately Blizzard's decision makes sense from their end. They don't wanna piss off the Chinese market.

But that doesn't mean I'm anyway opposed to the backlash they're getting. Fuck em! Seems like even bipartisan sitting senators in the U.S. are also weighing in this controversy. Good riddance.
Posted on Reply
#17
TheinsanegamerN
Hey, remember when companies made products to sell you, and tournaments were based on playing a game, instead of EVERYTHING being about politics and "if you dont agree with all our politics you cant enjoy our products" mentality running wild? Remember when your escapism wasnt trying to shove chinese politics or marxist ideology down your throat? Remember when you could just enjoy yourself, have your opinions, and the world just kept on spinning?

Pepperage farm remembers.
Posted on Reply
#18
Khonjel
TheinsanegamerN, post: 4130042, member: 127292"
Hey, remember when companies made products to sell you, and tournaments were based on playing a game, instead of EVERYTHING being about politics and "if you dont agree with all our politics you cant enjoy our products" mentality running wild? Remember when your escapism wasnt trying to shove chinese politics or marxist ideology down your throat? Remember when you could just enjoy yourself, have your opinions, and the world just kept on spinning?

Pepperage farm remembers.
That's disingenuous thinking tbh. Because same could be said about the Chung guy's original statement. People who were watching Hearthstone tournament weren't watching to get their throat filled with #freehongkong politics.
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#19
TheinsanegamerN
Khonjel, post: 4130052, member: 154148"
That's disingenuous thinking tbh. Because same could be said about the Chung guy's original statement. People who were watching Hearthstone tournament weren't watching to get their throat filled with #freehongkong politics.
That's equally disingenuous. If Chung had sung the virtues of how amazing China was, then Blizzard wouldnt have banned him, despite viewers not wanting to hear anythign about #praisechina either.

Here is the issue. Back int he day, companies wouldnt have done anything to chung. The audience would have told him repeatedly to STFU, and he would have eventually gotten the message. We didnt need the hosts to shut down a member of the competition for wrongthink. Companies need to butt out of politics, we dont need corporatiosn tellign us what is appropriate political speech and what isnt. Or, if they dont want political speech, they need to stop ALL political speech and make it very clear that there is to be no political speech, not leave nebulous rules like blizzard does so they can ban anyone they dont like.
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#20
CrAsHnBuRnXp
They should settle the dispute in a Starcraft match.
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#21
sepheronx
TheinsanegamerN, post: 4130055, member: 127292"
That's equally disingenuous. If Chung had sung the virtues of how amazing China was, then Blizzard wouldnt have banned him, despite viewers not wanting to hear anythign about #praisechina either.

Here is the issue. Back int he day, companies wouldnt have done anything to chung. The audience would have told him repeatedly to STFU, and he would have eventually gotten the message. We didnt need the hosts to shut down a member of the competition for wrongthink. Companies need to butt out of politics, we dont need corporatiosn tellign us what is appropriate political speech and what isnt. Or, if they dont want political speech, they need to stop ALL political speech and make it very clear that there is to be no political speech, not leave nebulous rules like blizzard does so they can ban anyone they dont like.
Yeah but the company may face issues from the very people funding this tournament. Money speaks louder than words and you know that.
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#22
Mistral
1d10t, post: 4129906, member: 110464"
Kneeling at national anthem v2.
Oh, I didn't know "Blitzchung" expressed his opinion during a Heartstone match...
Posted on Reply
#23
Lightning
sepheronx, post: 4130012, member: 16941"
I guarantee you wont go out and protest the crap your government does if it means you may lose your lively hood.
Can't really protest the aftermath of coming out from a dicktatorship.
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#24
sepheronx
Lightning, post: 4130122, member: 166531"
Can't really protest the aftermath of coming out from a dicktatorship.
its called dictatorship and I am curious, really curious but how is the livelihood in Hong Kong in relation to the "dictatorship" of mainland China? What exactly do they do that prevents one to enjoy their life? Under rule from the British, locals were treated like second/third class citizens. They were treated more or less like crap.

What started this was the extradition laws being passed from HK to mainland China because certain oligarch's were in trouble and hide out in HK. Afterwards this protests happen.
Posted on Reply
#25
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Basically money.... And lots of it. BlitzChung got off lightly.

If Blizzard had stood up and defended the guy then they would have lost BILLIONS in current and future revenue and China is one MASSIVE market that is continuously growing and to be banned from all that would probably mean life or death for Activision because There's no way in hell these CEOs and other executives are willing to lighten their pay packet to the tune of a few less billion a year to keep their business going.

China is the great silk road for game publishers and there is a reason why they will bend over backwards for them. Everyone loves money, but these publishers love it even more so that they don't want just some of it. They want ALL of it.

Bobby Kotick probably didnt even brush his teeth and get changed out of his PJs when he got out of bed this morning and read the news. Then called his Chauffeur and got him to drive him to the guy who decided to punish the player and those involved so he could thank him personally for not destroying the company and losing the company billions.
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