Saturday, October 19th 2019

U.S. Legislators Including AOC Come Down Hard on Activision-Blizzard on Blitzchung Ban

Three Congresspersons and two Senators, in a letter to Activision-Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick, came down hard on the company's decision to ban and withdraw prize winnings of Hong Kong gamer Ng Wai Chung aka "Blitzchung." In the letter, the legislators unleashed scathing criticism of the company's decision to place its market-access to China above its expectations as an American business to spread the core American values of freedom and liberty around the world. Among these legislators are Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Tom Malinowski; and Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden.

"Your company benefits from China's growing market for e-sports, along with an investment from Tencent, one of China's largest technology firms. As you and your company are no doubt aware, the Chinese government uses the size and strength of its economy to suppress opinion with which it disagrees. Last week alone, the Chinese government targeted Apple for hosting an app to help peaceful demonstrators evade repression and the NBA because one team's general manager tweeted in support of Hong Kong protests," the letter reads.
"Your company claims to stand by 'one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions,' yet many of your own employees believe that Activision-Blizzard's decision to punish Mr. Chung runs counter to those values," the letter continues, referencing the silent protest by Blizzard employees by covering up a floor decal in the company's Stateside office. "Indeed many gamers around the world have taken notice of your company's actions, understandably calling for boycotts of Activision-Blizzard gaming sites," the letter continues, referring to the recent wave of established gamers either downright deleting their accounts, or cancelling their subscriptions to Activision-Blizzard MMOs.

Buckling under intense pressure in its home market, Blizzard last week reduced its ban. Bliizzard announced that it would be returning Blitzchung his prize money and reducing his ban from 1 year to 6 months. "Anger is still bubbling in the Blizzard communities, and with BlizzCon just around the corner, things are only going to continue to heat up," comments E-Sports Talk.

"As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values - like freedom of speech and thought - or to give in to Beijing's demands in order to preserve market access. We urge you in the strongest terms to reconsider your decision with respect to Mr. Chung. You have the opportunity to reverse course. We urge you to take it," the letter concludes. Sources: United States Senate, E-Sports Talk
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62 Comments on U.S. Legislators Including AOC Come Down Hard on Activision-Blizzard on Blitzchung Ban

#1
Assimilator
When does the NBA get a similar strongly-worded letter?
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#2
lynx29
Assimilator
When does the NBA get a similar strongly-worded letter?
When they stop donating to campaign funds through shell companies
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#3
steve360
They don't actually care; they did what they did to because their access to the Chinese market is more important than free speech and democracy. Money is all that is important to them.

This letter amounts to nothing more than a slap on the wrist with a wet lettuce. If they want to really punish the greedy executives and shareholders of Activision Blizzard, start by banning loot boxes and forcing them to pay their fair share of taxes.
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#4
jmcslob
I really don't see "American Values" within the United fucking States Govt and until I do they can Fuck off with bullshit like this.
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#5
yakk
Pot meet kettle...
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#6
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
I guess Kotick didn't dig deep enough into his super yacht ocean liner fund to keep the legislators & AOC off his tail.

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#7
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
At first I was "whatever, they can't really do anything" and then I remembered what happened Huawei and ZTE. If Blizzard acts like a tool of China, Congress might do something they'll regret.
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#9
RH92
I don't know which one is more ridiculous Blizzard decision or these Murican Senators :roll::roll::roll:
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#10
xkm1948
This is just pure unhinged political BS now.
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#11
Darmok N Jalad
Another sad thing is that so many of these corporations spout their “support” of social causes, but have no problem going against those ethics in another country with entirely different values. I’d rather they just stay out of it, because whatever stance they take is to just get people to “like” them and buy more of their products. There’s nothing wrong with having a conscience, but that’s not what is going on here. This is also what politicians do, so the irony is inescapable.
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#12
londiste
Darmok N Jalad
Another sad thing is that so many of these corporations spout their “support” of social causes, but have no problem going against those ethics in another country with entirely different values. I’d rather they just stay out of it, because whatever stance they take is to just get people to “like” them and buy more of their products. There’s nothing wrong with having a conscience, but that’s not what is going on here. This is also what politicians do, so the irony is inescapable.
There is a difference in company spouting their values and company or organization being used as a platform for political statements.

I am sure US senators would be making these same statements about protecting free speech if controversial statement was something they did not like or approve of. Looking at current issues would voicing support for Catalonian independence or for Turkish operation in Syria go over as well?
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#13
krykry
Blizzard choices:
1. Support anti-china stuff, get banned from china and lose humongous amount of profits, eventually leading to company's/title/franchise death.
2. Distance yourself from politics and ban politicking.

The choice is clear.
Posted on Reply
#15
hat
Enthusiast
Why is Congress getting involved on this? I might expect a Trump tweet about it, but no more...
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#16
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
krykry
Blizzard choices:
1. Support anti-china stuff, get banned from china and lose humongous amount of profits, eventually leading to company's/title/franchise death.
2. Distance yourself from politics and ban politicking.

The choice is clear.
I dont think #1 really applies. Yes they will lose tonnes of profits but that doesnt mean the company or its franchises will die. They can still make money outside of China. China is but only one small part of the world. They'll still be making money, Just not ALL the money. No doubt they will downsize and streamline their operations so Kotick and his executives can keep swimming in their seas of money.

But thats the problem with companies that answer to investors and shareholders. All these people want a humongous ROI and if they arent beating the previous years profits then these investors and shareholders think they are a dead company and not likely to keep their money invested in the company

Sadly investors matter more than customers in the gaming industry these days. Bobby Kotick has a networth of $7 billiion and $175million's worth of shares in Activision

in 2018 this man earned $30mil




What kind of person needs $30mil each year to live when he is also worth $7bil??? I understand being a CEO for a giant company takes some serious work but $30mil???



Bobby or its execs wont be getting a paycut or reduction in bonuses - they'll just cut staff numbers - lay off a few thousand then put out a recruitment ad for the same position but a much lower salary.

They dont want games to sell themselves. they want to release any trash that can be called a game and fill it with microtransactions because thats where all the money is... Forget putting in all the hard work and effort into creating a great game with content that pretty much sells itself like in the good old days.

hat
Why is Congress getting involved on this? I might expect a Trump tweet about it, but no more...
They want some of that Activision money.
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#17
lynx29
FreedomEclipse
I dont think #1 really applies. Yes they will lose tonnes of profits but that doesnt mean the company or its franchises will die. They can still make money outside of China. China is but only one small part of the world. They'll still be making money, Just not ALL the money. No doubt they will downsize and streamline their operations so Kotick and his executives can keep swimming in their seas of money.

But thats the problem with companies that answer to investors and shareholders. All these people want a humongous ROI and if they arent beating the previous years profits then these investors and shareholders think they are a dead company and not likely to keep their money invested in the company

Sadly investors matter more than customers in the gaming industry these days. Bobby Kotick has a networth of $7 billiion and $175million's worth of shares in Activision

in 2018 this man earned $30mil




What kind of person needs $30mil each year to live when he is also worth $7bil??? I understand being a CEO for a giant company takes some serious work but $30mil???



Bobby or its execs wont be getting a paycut or reduction in bonuses - they'll just cut staff numbers - lay off a few thousand then put out a recruitment ad for the same position but a much lower salary.

They dont want games to sell themselves. they want to release any trash that can be called a game and fill it with microtransactions because thats where all the money is... Forget putting in all the hard work and effort into creating a great game with content that pretty much sells itself like in the good old days.



They want some of that Activision money.
Really its only 5 million a year, not 30, I mean technically the stock value could crash tomorrow to $1 a share and that 25 million is gone, that won't happen obviously, that would be an anomaly on par with quantum physics, but you get my point.
Posted on Reply
#18
Assimilator
FreedomEclipse
China is but only one small part of the world.
So small that it only has a fifth of the total world population...
So small that it's one of the only untapped market for videogames...

lynx29
Really its only 5 million a year, not 30, I mean technically the stock value could crash tomorrow to $1 a share and that 25 million is gone, that won't happen obviously, that would be an anomaly on par with quantum physics, but you get my point.
Oh noes, $5 mil vs $30 mil, how ever would poor ol' Bobby cope.
Posted on Reply
#19
Mescalamba
krykry
Blizzard choices:
1. Support anti-china stuff, get banned from china and lose humongous amount of profits, eventually leading to company's/title/franchise death.
2. Distance yourself from politics and ban politicking.

The choice is clear.
You mean those 12% they could in theory get if they "get" China? Yea, thats pretty high in theoretical realm, especially now. Acti-Blizz doesnt need China, they never did, they just WANT to make more money. Not getting in China wouldnt mean a thing in long term.

Treating customers like sh*t on other hand can hurt in long term. Along with producing subpar stuff, throwing money in senseless ideas and so on..

Worst enemy of Acti-Blizz is they themselves and their infinite greed.
Posted on Reply
#20
lynx29
Assimilator
So small that it only has a fifth of the total world population...
So small that it's one of the only untapped market for videogames...



Oh noes, $5 mil vs $30 mil, how ever would poor ol' Bobby cope.
that's not what I meant, just was pointing out an error a lot of people make. I do think a CEO that generates x amount of profit, the CEO should get around x amount percent wise. I do think there needs to be a cap on it, but I see nothing wrong with 3-4 million for a CEO.... there needs to be a point of climbing the ladder and investing in so much time, otherwise people will just stay a few rings below the top and be content with their 400k salaries. I mean it's a pyramid and always will be, not everyone in the company will make that much money, the math just doesn't add up, unless you want to pay $800 for a new video game each year.
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#21
Lord Romulus
OK, let's look at this from another point of view. Basically, some government men think that an entertainment platform business "should mix" political issues in their activities, especially if it's delicate. However, a social networking platform business "should not mix" its content with politics even if it is just a presidential election. That's it? Well, these Congressmen and Senators have to make up their minds, because if Activision-Blizzard did it wrong then Facebook was always right; but if Facebook was never correct, then Activision-Blizzard did well.
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#22
mak1skav
They only need to announce Diablo 4 in next blizzcon and then all of us will forget and forgive everything and we will run like good sheep to give them more money. Companies are really bad these days but all the low IQ customers are even worse.
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#23
natr0n
aoc the monitors > aoc the cunt
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#24
BArms
AOC probably only supported it because she thought it was denouncing Climate Change.
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#25
ScaLibBDP
I don't think it is a good thing to mix Hi-Tech and Politics on www.techpowerup.com web-site dedicated to Hi-Tech, GPU technologies, Gaming, etc

However, as a matter of facts:

- Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China until 2050, and China will get it Anyway 27 years later, right?
- A question is why do some people from the US Government interfere into internal affairs of China?
- Too many people around the world do Not know that Hawaiian songs were banned for a long period of time by the US Government
- What would you say if China would try to interfere into internal affairs of the USA with regards to rights of people of Hawaii in the middle of 1960th, or rights of blacks around the same time?

Absolutely Not interested to hear anything about all these demonstrations in Hong Kong, but I agree this is Not a right decision to ban that person. Unfortunately, they mixed Politics and Gaming.
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