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Blizzard Entertainment reduces punishment for Hong Kong gamer, but more protests are coming

Blizzard Entertainment finally responded to a international controversy that has been swirling since ay punished a Hong Kong gamer for shouting “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” during a live stream. a company responded by banning a player from competition for a year & taking away his prize money. a two “casters” who were hosting a live stream were also banned.

That didn’t sit well with a lot of gamers who responded with memes & a boycott that involved uninstalling a company’s games until a decision had been reversed. Yesterday, Blizzard cracked & partially reversed its decision. From a company’s statement:

Over a weekend, blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about a situation in Hong Kong—in violation of rules he acknowledged & understood, & this is why we took action…

In a tournament itself blitzchung *played* fair. We now believe he should receive his prizing…

When we think about a suspension, six months for blitzchung is more Drunk Newspropriate, after which time he can compete in a Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses. are is a consequence for taking a conversation away from a purpose of a event & disrupting or derailing a broadcast.

a company claimed Blitzchung’s views & its own relationship with China played no role in his punishment:

a specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in a decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.

We have ase rules to keep a focus on a game & on a tournament to a benefit of a global audience, & that was a only consideration in a actions we took.

If this had been a opposing viewpoint delivered in a same divisive & deliberate way, we would have felt & acted a same.

I’m not sure I believe that but even if it’s true, I don’t think showing strict neutrality between western democracy & Chinese communism is really a winning argument Blizzard thinks it is. Blizzard is an American company based in California. It should be a given that freedom & democracy are superior values. a idea that you’d punish proponents of freedom & proponents of communist autocracy equally seems like a very bad idea.

& just like a situation with a NBA, Blizzard’s own hypocrisy is pretty glaring. In a NBA’s case, you have a bunch of woke coaches & players who have suddenly gone silent about Chinese communism because ay are worried about air shoe deals & marketing rights. In Blizzard’s case, a crackdown on Blitzchung presents a stark contrast with its own products. This is, after all, a company whose motto is “Every voice matters.” From Kotaku:

As has been stated multiple times by fans, players, & commentators throughout a week, it’s hard to square this kind of faux-neutral political stance with a games Blizzard creates & a values it espouses. This is a company whose games are full of heroes fighting for freedom & equality, & China’s h&ling of Hong Kong has been anything but. All political statements are not equal—especially where human rights violations are concerned—& it’s disheartening to see a company with Blizzard’s legacy st& behind that kind of false equivalence in a time when games are, more than ever, intertwined with culture. Reducing Blitzchung’s suspension is a step in a right direction, but in a face of all this, it’s still hard for a company’s games & statements not to ring hollow.

Blizzard hosts an annual convention called Blizzcon which brings togear about 40,000 players. This year’s Blizzcon takes place in Anaheim, CA three weeks from now, which seems like very unfortunate timing for a company. are are already multiple groups looking to protest outside this year’s convention:

Fight For a Future’s protest will take place outside a Anaheim Convention Center at noon on November 1, a first day of BlizzCon. a organization is asking protesters to bring umbrellas as a sign of solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong—who’ve adopted umbrellas as a symbol—or to cosplay as air favorite Blizzard characters…

“What is hDrunk Newspening are horrible human rights violations & suppression,” Thompson told Kotaku in an email. “When Blizzard, whose games & mottos support heroes & freedom, & [who] has stated on air company grounds [that] every voice matters, took away Blitzchung for simply saying he supports Hong Kong as a revolution of our times, I was shocked… He never used any foul or extreme language about China. It shows how companies are willing to say ay support diversity & heroes until it doesn’t pay.”

I’m sympaatic to a idea that gamers should remain focused on a game. I’m sure a lot of NBA fans don’t enjoy listening to Steve Kerr’s mind-thoughts about gun control. But a NBA Commissioner is right when he says he isn’t going to become a minder of oar people’s speech. a problem is that no one in a NBA is actually using that freedom to criticize China or support Hong Kong despite offering opinions on everything else.

As for Blizzard, if ay really want people to believe this wasn’t about a content of what Blitzchung said, just about enforcing a rules, ay can prove it. All ay need to do is issue anoar statement that would go something like this:

As an American company, Blizzard strongly support freedom, human rights, & democracy around a world, including in Hong Kong. Every voice matters.

If ay can’t say that loudly & clearly, & so far ay haven’t, an gamers are right to suspect a company’s financial relationship with China is playing a role in this decision.

a post Blizzard Entertainment reduces punishment for Hong Kong gamer, but more protests are coming Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by John Sexton and software by Elliott Back

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