Hearthstone player blitzchung suspended by Blizzard following Hong Kong comments

Blizzard was quick to act following the post-game interview at Hearthstone Grandmasters in Taipei this weekend. blitzchung's call for the liberation of Hong Kong has lead to his suspension from competition.

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Update, Oct. 8, 4:03 PM: It appears that several Blizzard employees have expressed disagreements with the actions Blizzard has taken. 

Additionally, Blizzard has now made its subreddit private. 

Original story: Blizzard has announced the suspension of blitzchung from Hearthstone Grandmasters. This follows a post-game interview during which the young Hearthstone player called for Hong Kong liberation. Blizzard has also rescinded all of his prize money from the competition. Rod Breslau was on point with the statement captured directly from Blizzard.

Breslau also reports that Blizzard has fired the two casters who ducked behind their desk during the interview. Neither of them knew what blitzchung was going to say, but they are also now fired. In case you missed blitzchung's call for the liberation of Hong Kong during the Hearthstone Grandmasters post-game interview, please take a look.

Activision Blizzard is a publicly traded company that has a lot of ties to China. Tencent owns nearly 5% of the company, and many of the Blizzard esports leagues are active in the region. Overwatch League and Hearthstone have a large presence in China, and Blizzard clearly doesn't want to risk the relationships they have built with the Communist Party. 

The official competition rules v1.4 p.12 Section 6.1 (o) do give Blizzard the leeway to impose these penalties. "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's image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player's prize total to $0 USD." 

We are seeing several instances of free speech putting companies in trouble with China this past week, with the NBA's Houston Rockets GM Darryl Morey having to delete a pro-Hong Kong tweet. The NBA issued an apology, and China has still gone forward with cancelling a G League game featuring Houston Rockets affiliate team the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. South Park even dealt with the topic last week.

China is big money in the entertainment business, and that is very apparent with how Activision Blizzard is handling their brand messaging in the communist country. blitzchung's statement and suspension comes as the protests in Hong Kong continue, and these stories are likely to continue to pop up. Keep it locked on Shacknews for more news from the frontlines of the trade war. 

CEO

Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:32 AM

      removing him from grandmasters, taking away all his prize money, plus ditching the casters, is a bit more than "suspended"

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:42 AM

      Money talks. Chinese money in this case.

      I already know what people will say in defense of Blizzard, contracts, politics, blah blah blah, but I don't care about any of this. They have just supported communist regime and punished a guy for opposing it, so fuck them.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 12:48 AM

        Yep. That's where it comes down for me, too. This shit is indefensible.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 12:49 AM

        100%

        I never thought I’d be in a position where I’d stop buying Blizzard products. I guess there’s a day for everything.

      • reply
        October 9, 2019 9:17 PM

        they're not the only ones, seems foolish to just go after them.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 1:50 AM

      What the fuck. I have very rarely boycotted companies in my life but this is so completely craven that I will not be buying any of their or Activisions products.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 2:01 AM

      Well, ATVI and Blizzard can officially go fuck themselves. Hopefully consumers do the right thing and stop purchasing their products.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 1:08 PM

        Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


        I wish they would too, but come on...noone gonna give up that sweet blizzard polish.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 1:21 PM

          I 100% will. They fucked over the HotS competitive scene, D3 was boring as hell to me, and Hearthstone is the whole root of the issue. Have no issue getting their shit off my computer and not buying D4.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 1:45 PM

            Yeah that's you. Not actual people who play Blizzard games 40+ hours a week

            • reply
              October 8, 2019 2:28 PM

              Yeah, I get that it's token. Just not much else I can do on my own other than curb my own consumption.

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 2:32 PM

                I get it. Just know they dont care, and if you get any enjoyment out of the games, all youre really doing is keeping yourself from what you like. It's like banging your head into a wall. Noone at blizzard cares, and you suffer the consequences.

                • reply
                  October 8, 2019 2:42 PM

                  he won't be the only guy boycotting. Stop selling your species short.

                  • reply
                    October 8, 2019 2:43 PM

                    Of course he wont. Let me know when enough people drop them to where it effects their bottom line, and they change their stance.

                    • reply
                      October 8, 2019 2:44 PM

                      It may not even be a factor, since there seems to be resistance within the company, sort of like with Google earlier in the year.

                    • Zek legacy 10 years
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                      October 8, 2019 2:46 PM

                      The public backlash to this has been pretty dramatic. Companies really do respond to this level of outrage, at least some of the time. It diminishes the hype around their brand.

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                      October 8, 2019 2:50 PM

                      It seems like a lot of folks playing WoW, Overwatch, and Hearth are dropping out. My wife and I canceled our WoW subs. This thing definitely isn’t going away and their is resistance within the company already.

                      Blizzard fucked up their PR bad which isn’t surprising since they basically fired most of their PR people.

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                        October 8, 2019 2:53 PM

                        I bet the ratio of people saying they are cancelled vs. The actual amount is massive.

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                  October 8, 2019 2:56 PM

                  i think its ok to boycott things even if it does nothing. it helps build character and integrity. I feel like weaker moral principles would make me more of a beta than I already am

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                    October 8, 2019 2:58 PM

                    I think it doesnt matter. Just my opinion though. Doing things just to not be beta seems...odd. but whatever works for you my dude.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 1:16 PM

        I give it two weeks, tops

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 2:27 AM

      Cowardly bastards. I don't do boycotts, but what the hell Blizzard

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 2:30 AM

      Cancel them WoW accounts! This is an easy boycott, right?

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 2:30 AM

        awwww my ironic emojis didn't work. :(

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 3:58 AM

        If you want to vote with your wallet to send a message that you won't support companies who kowtow to authoritarian regimes, then of course it is an easy boycott. If someone doesn't like this move by Blizzard then giving up a toon shouldn't be a problem.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 3:27 AM

      Fuckers. Uninstalling Battle.net as we speak.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 3:30 AM

      What the fuck, blizzard

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      October 8, 2019 3:38 AM

      Have they allowed political statements under similar circumstances before?

      I don't like it and China can suck it with their modern day nazi regime bullshit, but when it comes to Blizzard, I can't help playing "the devil's advocate" here a tiny bit.

      The reason the rule basically says "no politics at all" is simple: If they allow something political, then they must allow everything political, or become the judge and jury of what is "accepted" political content. That in itself is a very good reason to have a "hard no" stance to stuff like this.

      Should they have made an exception to the rule because Chine is in the wrong here, and HK protestors are in the right? Who decides from there on out who is in the right and is allowed to "plug" political agendas in video game broadcasts? It's a snowball of shit that would never stop rolling and I can understand motivations other than Chinese money for doing this.

      ... I'm not saying this isn't about Chinese money at least to some extent, though. But I think it's always useful to look at the whole picture.

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        October 8, 2019 3:47 AM

        A slap on the wrists to say "no politics" could be justifiable but this is way beyond that. Punishing everyone involved to this extent is an overtly political statement, Blizzard themselves are taking a clear stance with this.

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        October 8, 2019 4:00 AM

        I understand and can accept the no politics rule in many places. But that should be the organization enforcing it because it’s their rules and not because a foreign (or domestic) government is telling the organizer to enforce it.

        Going further, why is a foreign government telling a company what it can’t do when those actions of the company and participants are fully legal?

        Fuck the Chinese government.
        #prodemocracy
        #antipolicebrutality

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 4:04 AM

          The news pieces I've read have not stated that China contacted Blizzard or demanded anything from them. Just that Blizzard enforced a rule that was written a good while ago.

          This is why I asked in my original post if they've enforced the rule in question before. A quick Googling found no results. If they've done so, then it's quite a relevant question how they did it. If the punishment was more severe now than it has been, I 100% agree that this is BS. If not, it quickly gets a lot more complicated, as this is them basically setting a precedent.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 4:38 AM

            Tencent who owns a minority stake pressured them. Interestingly, Tencent and Beijing rarely made things like this so open until the Hong Kong protests. In the past, like when Blizzard was supporting pro-gay/lesbian/trans, China just wouldn’t/didn’t show those things in to the Chinese market. Yes, remember that the Chinese government is also anti-gay/lesbian/trans.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 6:09 AM

            And this here is how the world gets worse.

            A country being smothered by a violent and oppressive regime.

            Oops wouldn’t want to set a precedent!

            People and the organizations we give our money to need to stand for *something*

            Sitting on our hands for this is indefensible. Punishing a player for this is indefensible.

            Don’t become complacent because fucking economics demands it. Expect more

            • reply
              October 8, 2019 6:25 AM

              It would be great if Bliz took a stance against China. Also the US. And Europe. And...

              But apparently what I should target with my righteous anger is a gaming company enforcing a rule about no politics in their video game tournament feeds.

              I get demanding action. Just not sure the target is a very effective one here.

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 6:38 AM

                Just out of curiosity, are you a regular player of WoW or Hearthstone?

                • reply
                  October 8, 2019 7:06 AM

                  No, not anymore. Did play both in the past. I do play OW and Diablo 3 though, and am a big fan of Blizzard games.

                  Not that it matters much. If I chose to put effort into making this a better world, I'd march on the streets and put my money where my mouth is. You know, stuff that actually matters.

                  Boycotting a games company for enforcing a rule about no politics in their gaming feeds is not something that I believe will make any difference. Especially when it's not a Chinese company. I don't want politics in my gaming entertainment, and as much as some people might not like it, allowing this would mean allowing other stuff as well. It's a slippery slope if there ever was any.

                  Don't get me wrong - if Bliz came out and said "fuck China and their BS, we are pulling all our games out of the country", I'd applaud and support their choice. But I don't see a way to hold them morally accountable for fixing the horrific situation, when no-one else is doing anything about it either.

                  All I have said in this thread is that I don't know if Blizzard's motivation was that it's China, or simply that it was the rules, and they wanted to send a strong precedent. I get that it's possible, even likely that China has something to do with it. But me making that assumption and getting all huffy and puffy about the situation _at an American gaming company_ just is not I believe will change anything, so until I have reason to do otherwise, I'll keep on playing Overwatch.

                  That obviously upsets many people here, and that's a shame. I knew full well that this is the type of thread that I 101% agree with the hive mind with, in all aspects, or I get piled. But that's ok, I believe there is some value in this conversation.

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                    October 8, 2019 7:17 AM

                    I don’t think it upsets people so much as disappoints or surprises them.

                    It’s such a limp wristed do nothing shit-on-any-good-thing-and-somehow-declare-yourself-the-high-grounded-visionary response. I’d expect it on reddit. I expect it less on here.

                    Boycotts and public response matters. If it is significant, it can matter more. That people aren’t marching in the streets doesn’t mean what they do is worthless, and that particular point in your post is astonishingly self-serving and ignorant.

                    Go home ramshot, you’re drunk.

                    • reply
                      October 8, 2019 7:40 AM

                      If someone's surprised there are people out there who won't boycott Blizzard over this, then they've a very weird view of the world we live in. Most, if not all of us here use products from companies who do much worse things than what Blizzard has done here, on a daily basis. And we just ignore it.

                      I'm no visionary, nor a better person than anyone. I'm just being honest about what I actually know, and what the things I do or say are worth.

                      I'm not against someone taking issue with Blizzard over this. At the core of all of this there is an indeed morally clear cut issue, and this is one avenue of creating pressure to fix it. But before I get on board with that instead of doing the things I mentioned, I'd like to be sure I know what I'm blaming and judging the company for.

                      • reply
                        October 8, 2019 7:46 AM

                        Also, I'm done. I started this subthread by declaring myself the devil's advocate and that's certainly the role I ended up playing, but now I need to relax.

                        The people in power in China are monsters. I wish the people of HK all the best.

                        Thanks for the interesting discussion. I hope I'm wrong and something worthwhile comes out of this particular social storm.

                      • reply
                        October 8, 2019 9:56 AM

                        Oh, I didn’t mean folks would be surprised someone wouldn’t boycott.

                        I meant they were upset at you, just surprised you’re making these crummy posts. Think you’re generally at a higher bar.

                      • reply
                        October 8, 2019 1:30 PM

                        I'm not surprised there are people who won't boycott, but don't tell people who do boycott they're wrong to do so. The amount of effect it will have is certainly going to be low if very few do it. I don't care, I've been boycotting Sony hardware since the 1980s, EA video games since somewhere around 2004. I've missed out on a number of good games over the years and maybe it did zero good but I know my money did not go to those companies.

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 6:40 AM

                Agreed it makes little sense to hold Blizzard responsible for something they the rest of the world has accepted.

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 6:44 AM

                This isn’t someone saying “fuck Donald Trump” or “down with Xi Xinping.” He is expressing support for his own country’s freedom.

                It would be equivalent to someone from the state’s saying “support the children at the border.” To get prize money taken and ejected for years over that would be absurd.

                You probably wouldn’t be punished for it either. But in this case it’s China we’re talking about.

                You gotta really read the details here and consider the context my dude. This is unambiguous and you are playing both sides same / footsies with a really fucking horrific situation.

                • reply
                  October 8, 2019 6:56 AM

                  I think an even better analogy is being a pro NFL quarterback and saying "Black lives matter", taking a knee during the national anthem, and getting fired from your team / blacklisted from playing on any team.

                  It's like... uhhh one of these sides is in the wrong, here.

            • reply
              October 8, 2019 6:27 AM

              Exactly. Well said.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 4:37 PM

          I mean, they had rules, whatever.

          But firing the two moderators, as well, what the actual fuck? What did they do?!

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 4:28 AM

        Blizzard already made themselves the sole judge based on their own rule that they wrote. They are just kowtowing to the CCP.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 4:33 AM

          Yeah, sure. But "we ban everyone who goes political" is a lot easier to understand and defend than "we ban some who go political depending on what it was".

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 5:18 AM

        Many sides!

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          October 8, 2019 5:48 AM

          This is such a tired trope. I’m just curious to find out what exactly really happened or did not happen before I make up my mind as to how to react to it. The people in power in China are monsters, no two ways about it. But the only actual facts I’ve seen about what Blizzard did here are very limited in scope. They enforced a rule they have.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 5:56 AM

            It's a *tired trope" because it's shorthand for how taking a neutral stance in a clearly unambiguous moral decision is weak and ironically immoral.

            🤷🏻‍♂️ But whatever, the last time I gave Blizzard any money was Diablo 3. I'm done with that company.

            • reply
              October 8, 2019 6:10 AM

              Thank you for stating it so well.

            • reply
              October 8, 2019 6:16 AM

              Well I don’t think that’s what I’m doing here. When I see facts that support that they treated this situation differently than they would have treated other volatile, political statements in the same context, I’ll get on board.

              But nothing I have read so far says so. Just that they are enforcing a rule they have, a rule that most companies in a similar situation would also have and enforce. It’s not like there’s anything new about companies wanting to remain neutral in politics, and just ignoring the rules they have set would be no less taking a stance than enforcing them is.

              I just don’t like making assumptions, even for good causes. I’ll readily change my stance when and if I learn otherwise.

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 6:18 AM

                You're rational, cool-headed defense isn't welcome with this mob here, jimmy-buffet ramshot!

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 8:05 AM

                Just look at the NBA. It’s obvious what motivates the rule and the severity of the punishment. Both are morally bankrupt.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 6:20 AM

        They do not have "no politics"-rule.

        The rule they used:

        "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 damage’s Blizzard image will result in removal
        from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other
        remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms."

        The only reason he got banned is bc he mentioned Hong Kong/China.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 8:59 AM

        There’s no way Blizzard would be doing this if a player simply expressed support for a Democrat or Republican.

        Refusing to allow people to take a stance is not principle neutrality. That itself is a stance where you sit idly by in the face of bad behavior rather than risk profit.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 11:13 AM

          They also wouldn't get banned from selling their product in the US if a player simply expressed support for a Democrat or a Republican.

          I certainly don't support what they did but from a business perspective they kind of have to. The China market is too big to lose. It's lose lose no matter what they do.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 12:31 PM

            Right, that’s the point, it’s not about Blizzard caring about remaining apolitical, it’s about protecting profits. And people rightly don’t look kindly on protecting profits by supporting authoritarian led genocidal regimes.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 11:05 AM

        Not really wrong. People up in arms over companies capitulating to Chinese censorship or not openly supporting hk democracy but also don't mind buying all their products from China, supporting the ccp through their own businesses or companies deals, etc.

        It's just an easy target and takes no effort.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 12:27 PM

          It makes sense in this context because we're all part of video game culture. We all have a stake in how the industry behaves.

          Not saying your mom should give a shit about this, but you definitely should.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:12 AM

      Grosssss.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:30 AM

      Expect this to happen more and more in the coming months with our week ass spinless president

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:36 AM

      That's a very political stance you're taking there, Blizzard. Uncharacteristic of a major videogame publisher.

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      October 8, 2019 4:39 AM

      I'm not going to blame a video game company for not standing up to an authoritarian state when the rest of the world does essentially nothing. Nor do I see any moral responsibility for Blizzard to act as a platform for political speech.

      • DM7 legacy 10 years
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        October 8, 2019 6:50 AM

        Me either and people will come back when Diablo 4 releases.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 6:55 AM

        It's OK if a group I like does it because all the others do. That sounds familiar.

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          October 8, 2019 8:07 AM

          Yes it's okay if a company doesn't stand up to an authoritarian superpower if the rest of the world's governments don't seem interested in doing anything. Not to mention the fact that, for China, the Hong Kong situation is kind of whatever relative to the ongoing genocide/cultural extermination of Tibet and Uighers that we all abet by accepting China in the global community and continuing to trade with them.

          I be happy if the world did decide to confront China. But until that happens I'm not going to blame a video game company for not fighting back.

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            October 8, 2019 8:22 AM

            Everyone draws their own lines, but I disagree that letting stuff slide just because other companies or governments allow them to happen does anything but contribute to letting them happen, just short of condoning it. You're effectively saying that the great powers that be are responsible for taking the lead and doing something about it before (or a company) has a responsibility to act or commit. How do you think those powers are influenced into action? Holding them accountable. Protesting. Boycotting. Legal action. One person or business makes an incredibly tiny difference, but a lot of people make change. That has to start somewhere.

            If Blizzard and every one of these companies pulling this bullshit suddenly boycotted China it would make an impact.

            Instead, they choose money. That's what it boils down to. Their "responsibility" to their shareholders. Short term gains and profit increases every quarter.

            • reply
              October 8, 2019 8:29 AM

              It's not Blizzard's burden to lead the fight against China's police state. If they want to take that up, then great, bravo Blizzard. But I won't damn them if they won't.

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 12:16 PM

                They fucked over a professional player for following his conscience. They sided with a police state over freedom of speech.

                So it's not about them "taking on the burden", it's about them voluntarily siding with a murderous authoritarian regime against somebody advocating for freedom and democracy.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 10:19 AM

        Not standing up to is fine? But what they did is kneeling before them.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 12:31 PM

        Hey, cool it with the sarcastic aww tag. Please don't ruin that tag.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 2:34 PM

          Is that not what it was for? I dont think I've ever seen it used in any other scenario on here lol.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 2:45 PM

            The Sunday pet thread or helvetica peegy threads or any other such cuteness!

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 12:32 PM

        I am.

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        October 8, 2019 12:44 PM

        mmmmm

        an attitude that really helps make the world a better place

        thanks buddy

        your social credit score just went up a few points. congratulations! you wont be sent to the re education camps w the muslims

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 2:21 PM

        I can and totally will.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:51 AM

      GCR FOR LIFE

      • DM7 legacy 10 years
        reply
        October 8, 2019 6:49 AM

        And what’s funny is that they banned that guild name because it had communist in it.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 5:43 AM

      Just canceled my account. Reason given: Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 6:06 AM

      *looks at HS competitor*: ok
      *looks at HS competitor’s teammates*: ok
      *looks at blizzard*: wtf
      *looks at people deleting accounts*: ok...
      *looks at reasons for deletions*: huh?
      *thinks about differences between communism and facism*: hmmm...
      *checks r/hearthstone*: oh dear....
      *checks r/China*: oh god...
      *checks r/HongKong*: oh fuck...
      *looks at passport*: damnit
      *looks at self in mirror*: punches self in balls.

      I think I need a break from the internet.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 6:56 AM

      Disney bent the knee, did anyone expect Blizzard to hold out? poor Winnie. ☹️

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 7:08 AM

      I'm pleasantly surprised to see significant consumer response to this kind of bullshit.

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      October 8, 2019 7:10 AM

      This is going to make Blizzcon a bloodbath. Blizzard already killed most of their PR people, and while a lot of stuff gets forgotten within 24 hours gamers remember shit. There is still the whole "you have phones right?" I guarantee that shit is coming up in Blizzcon in just a few weeks.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 9:13 AM

        Heck I’m waiting for people at QAs to change their questions and mention Hong Kong now and have Hong Kong flags hidden and just brought up, especially during the Diablo mobile stuff which is big in China.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 11:10 AM

        Yeah it is going to be really interesting to watch... I bet they shut down a lot of Q/A sessions if it gets out of control.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 7:12 AM

      We are cool with China!

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      October 8, 2019 7:30 AM

      Guess it’s time to play magic arena but Jesus I’m really not looking forward to starting from zero again.

      Honestly what made me fall in love with hearthstone was when ladder counted for htc points which every competitive player needed to qualify for events. What this meant was that playing high legend ladder at the end of the month was super intense and you were guaranteed to queue into someone tryharding. I could feel the hate from my opponent radiating off the monitor and it felt awesome to win those games.

      Now competitive hearthstone is grandmasters or bust. It’s basically impossible to get a spot and it’s possible to stay in gms with a 40% winrate since only two players per region get kicked out every season.

      And yeah compare how roger was treated to blitzchung and the casters and it’s immediately obvious what blizzard’s priorities are. Blatant cheating took nearly a year to get punished while criticizing China results in losing everything in a day.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 7:47 AM

      Just woke up to this... I can't believe they banned the casters too! This is insane..

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 8:19 AM

        The twitter comments say the casters didn't know what he was about to say, but they ducked out of the camera BEFORE he said it.

        So they knew what was coming.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 7:56 AM

      Screw Blizzard

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 7:56 AM

      That's pretty fucked up. I'm glad Bungie moved Destiny 2 to Steam.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 8:11 AM

      I have a feeling there's going to be an intense scrutiny of all past Blizz-run broadcast of Hearthstone events to see if Blizzard failed to act on similar "political messaging".

      Blizzard needs to come out soon with a more expansive statement than "he broke the rule", saying if this was on their own volition (no Tencent, no China CCP involvement) and if they are going to set a similar bar for political messaging in the future, regardless of country. Otherwise, as some have predicted and knowing the amount of "love" EGS has for its Tencent ties, this is going to be disasterous for Bliizzard.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 8:21 AM

        I don't see how Blizzard credibly points to any rule or precedent. The threat is explicit China will kick you out if you allow criticism: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-08/china-halts-nba-broadcasts-as-anger-mounts-over-hong-kong-tweet?srnd=premium

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 8:24 AM

          I guess for me is if Blizzard was told "kick him" by Tencent/China, or if they realized that if they did not take action, that they risked China kicking out the entire esport tournament. The latter, being proactive, seems the right call but they should be explicit about that. No question fear of China censorship is at play here, just, how it came about would be helpful.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 8:34 AM

            For once the NBA had a better response https://www.nba.com/article/2019/10/08/adam-silver-statement-china-nba

            “However, the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way.”

            • reply
              October 8, 2019 9:38 AM

              I completely agree with that, but I do have to consider that the impact of China blocking Hearthstone esports coverage is a much more significant impact to Blizzard, than the blocking of basketball coverage is to the NBA or South Park to Comedy Central - and that's ignoring the Tencent factor. NBA can easily afford to tell CCP off, as its audience is primarily US. Hearthstone is likely majority in China and that would hurt Blizzard.

              That's not saying Blizzard should have the balls to stand up against such, but they clearly didn't here, and thus need to a better statement than "just violated the rules".

              • reply
                October 8, 2019 9:50 AM

                The NBA and China deals are worth billions of dollars. Hardly something trivially to tell China off with.

                • reply
                  October 8, 2019 10:23 AM

                  The way I'm looking at it, losing China hurts Act-Blizz much more than it would hurt the NBA. Esports are a major revenue factor for Activision. Total Activision revenues were around $1.8B last year, and while I can't find a hard number for what part of that pie was esports, we know its estimated overall to be a $1B market, nearly half from China. You're looking at something that can be easily be estimated to be $100-250M for Activision, which is anywhere from 5 to 20% of their total revenues if they lost that.

                  Whereas its hard to tell where the NBA sits but their US television deals with networks are already in the 10s of billions. Yes, this is still a lot of money to lose over a tweet, but the NBA is not as in a financially precarious situation as Activision-Blizzard is.

                  But I'm only speculating here. I don't agree with Blzzard's handling of this situation at all.

                  • reply
                    October 8, 2019 10:28 AM

                    Plus they have a whole free speech/socially liberal brand to protect.

                  • reply
                    October 8, 2019 12:58 PM

                    Crap, now I lost the article, but I just read today (from an article today) that Blizzard's SE Asia business is only about 12% of their total revenue. So no, not necessarily a cash thing likely :P

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 12:22 PM

            Doesn't matter. This is what it boils down to for me:

            https://twitter.com/SouthPark/status/1181273539799736320

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 8:53 AM

      fuck blizzard

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 9:48 AM

      Now, according to the fascist right wing, this is all liberal outrage culture costing people jobs. Hmmmm. Seems like something other than that is taking place.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 10:04 AM

        Where are the fascists complaining about it? I don't doubt that they are, but I haven't seen any of it yet myself.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 12:23 PM

          Yeah, I think this will be one of the few issues that most sides of the political spectrum will come into agreement.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 1:54 PM

          No I'm saying that fascists in a fascist government are the instigation and total cause of this particular 'deplatforming', while they complain about things like "too much PC in comedy now" and "why can't I use the -er variant on Twitter and Facebook when referring to The Black People?"

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 10:20 AM

      Spineless.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 10:27 AM

      Glad I haven't purchased a blizzard game since WarCraft 3.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 10:34 AM

        a very retroactively brave and uncompromising position, to be sure ;)

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 10:34 AM

      i cancelled my wow sub... we'll see what happens

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 10:44 AM

      Pretty sure the 2 casters knew what he was going to say or why would they duck? Someone did a rough translation of what they said in the video in the tweet:


      Quick translation

      Casters: ok so if you just say the 8 words we'll stop here, enough chit Chatting for now

      Don't forget to put your head down

      giggles

      Player: '' Restore Hong Kong, time for a revolution '' (this quote might translate differently to Restore Hong Kong, revolution of our lives''

      Casters: okok thats enough

      Not that it makes it okay, but people keep saying all over that they just removed them for no reason.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:04 PM

      https://twitter.com/lackofrealism/status/1181639970332659712


      Not everyone at Blizzard agrees with what happened.

      Both the "Think Globally" and "Every Voice Matters" values have been covered up by incensed employees this morning.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:29 PM

      Here come the memes https://i.imgur.com/IgTR4Oh.png

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:46 PM

      they locked the subreddit? https://old.reddit.com/r/blizzard damn blizzard is in a nightmare right now.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:47 PM

      Dang.... South Park hit the nail on the head last week

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:52 PM

      Blizzard should make the best NBA game

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:54 PM

      Achievement Unlocked: - Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 12:56 PM

      sadlol at how the interviewers have to literally duck out of frame when he starts talking about it


      https://mobile.twitter.com/InvenGlobal/status/1180954142396710912?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1180954142396710912&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fshacknews.com%2Fonearticle.x%2F114389

      They got fired anyway though, because China?

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 12:59 PM

        Rubio nails it. This is Chinese censorship by proxy.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 1:00 PM

          Yeah, Matt Stone and Trey Parker's tweet made the same point. Shit makes me sick to my stomach.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 1:17 PM

      Canceling my WoW account tonight and putting this as the reason. Fuck them.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 1:59 PM

      I see Blizzard is stepping up their game this year by fucking up before Blizzcon. I wonder if they're saving a really big fuckup for the event. You know, something nice to surprise the fans with.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 2:18 PM

      Fuck blizzard and activision.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 2:30 PM

      A reminder before people go boycotting Blizzard: It is a big company with multiple arms, and not all those arms agree with the esports side to enforce this:

      https://twitter.com/lackofrealism/status/1181639970332659712

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 2:40 PM

        Agree or not, it's up to you to decide what your money (or your efforts) support.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 2:48 PM

          I compare it to the same situation as Gearbox re the good work on BLands 3 but the questionable behavior of Pitchford. Do I have to hate Jeff Kaplan because of what some other division do? Probably not. Nor in this economy would I expect people wholly unassociated with the branch that made the banning call to start running out and looking for jobs on principle. At least, without any more information to this situation.

          Unlikely, but should, say, it be the case of Tencent having very strong but hidden control of Blizzard and this part of it, then its time to bail.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 2:51 PM

            Pitchford being an asshole is one thing. This shit is on a completely different level.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 3:05 PM

            I don't want you to hate anyone, but you have to decide what you're comfortable supporting.

            I know I wouldn't be happy with my money supporting a company that makes decisions like these, and if I was working for them I'd be reevaluating that, too.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 2:43 PM

        I'm sure there is some lively debate going on in their corporate offices. Hopefully we get a statement from them tomorrow along the lines of Adam Silver's today, and they reverse their decision on the player and announcers.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 2:53 PM

        Canceling a WoW sub if you believe in the cause is a direct way to send a message to the company since you can do so also as the reason for canceling. Money talks and is the reason Blizzard did this in the first place. They’ll reconsider their actions based on money as well.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 2:57 PM

          The only people who are going to cancel are the ones who stopped playing WoW a while back and keep forgetting. The rest are going to claim they cancel but not.

          • Zek legacy 10 years
            reply
            October 8, 2019 3:03 PM

            A cancellation is a cancellation either way. If there's a spike after this then it can be attributed to this issue.

          • reply
            October 8, 2019 3:05 PM

            No way to know for certain but I’ve seen a lot of friends on Facebook also cancel over this directly. I think this has a lot more kegs even if it’s temporary much like the RealID forum fiasco if you remember that. Blizzard had a ton of cancellations and uproar over that, it hit their bottom line hard so they backtracked.

            This story is now making national news, going across all of their gaming subreddits including all and others, the posts have tens of thousands of votes in some places.

            I think folks like yourself are far too cynical that people are pissed off. Will it be a permanent boycott for people? Maybe not but even getting thousands of canceling customers will make your finance department alarm bells go off.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 5:23 PM

        The esports part of the org was the last remaining sector with an ounce of my respect left.

        Oh wait, they didn't have it anymore because of the way they killed HGC ensuring Heroes of the Storm's demise, their refusal to put money into a Starcraft league in NA, and the general mismanagement of OWL competitive meta.

        This is me guessing, but they learned a very hard lesson I think this year and finally caved and realized that your game balance team and your esports team MUST have their goals and strategies aligned. To me it felt like they had a brilliant game design team, that wasn't very interested in balancing the game as an engaging, spectatable product at the competitive level. And they also had the esports team that NEEDED things to change very quickly and dynamically with regards to meta. Instead, they kindof just let the design team design the game they wanted to, and band-aided OWL until someone put their foot down on 2-2-2. I don't even know if that works, I stopped watching OWL because it was a bad product. They have amazing production and a solid team there, but the game is just not entertaining to me as an esport.

        Anyway I've been cross with Blizzard for a while now, and this just the most recent painful reminder that Blizzard North is dead. That is the company I fell in love with and curated my pc gaming habits for the majority of my life. Adam Sandler will never make another Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison. Blizzard North will never make another game. Eat at Arbys.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 2:47 PM

      Just a reminder that tencent owns 40% of epic games.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 2:59 PM

        And 100% of Riot Games.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 3:17 PM

          Wow, the irony lol

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 3:56 PM

          And 80% of grinding gear games (path of exile)



          And 5% of Blizzard

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 3:11 PM

        And 5% of Ubisoft

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 3:15 PM

        way to drop a dime on them

      • G D
        reply
        October 8, 2019 4:30 PM

        People will be outraged, but most will do nothing. Inconvenience must be avoided at all costs in the modern world. The people getting mad over a video game company should take a step back and realize how many people are trodden down to bring the things we take for granted into our comfortable lives. A large sum of our shoes, toys, electronics and clothing are made in China. We want our shit made CHEAPLY because fuck everyone else, am I right? Meanwhile the world suffers from the pollution generated from their production in China and India, in addition to the plastics America can no longer recycle offshore.

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/17/recycled-plastic-america-global-crisis

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 5:00 PM

          I mean, baby steps? I'm more than fine saying I didn't think too deeply about my purchase decisions in the past. I just don't see any stigma attached with changing my behaviour now, even if the catalyst was a hobby/source of entertainment.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 3:44 PM

      Welp, Blizzcon should be interesting....

      Hell of a lead in! It's in what ? A month ?

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 3:46 PM

      At this point there seems to be no morally-defensible option but to cut economic ties with China. It’s clear that they embody a world view that’s antithetical to the values that we in the West claim to hold, like the freedom of political expression or really even the freedom to not be murdered out of sheer political convenience.

      But we know that won’t happen. There’s too much greed tied up in it. Corporate America is deeply entwined in it; they’re all basically IBM, selling computing machines to WW2 Germany.

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 4:13 PM

        And consumers too. We've all been buying the cheap mop from walmart, the cheap TV's, the cheap hand lotion warmers.

        • reply
          October 8, 2019 7:34 PM

          I have a hard time blaming the wide net of The American Consumer for tolerating China’s human rights abuses. Most people aren’t really even paying attention to where their consumer goods are made, and even if they did, at this point all of that shit is made in some Asian country, and I don’t think most people are aware of the depths of China’s authoritarian state.

          Government officials are. American politicians are. Corporate leaders are definitely acutely aware of how corrupt things are there. I blame them for falling over themselves to let all this happen.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:10 PM

      One of the casters has been fired by Blizzard Taiwan but yet to be told why.

      https://www.pcgamer.com/taiwanese-hearthstone-caster-fired-after-hong-kong-controversy-says-he-still-doesnt-know-why/

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:16 PM

      Wowoweewow just caught wind of this.... what a fucking bitch ass coward fuckwit move, Blizzard. God damn. Fuck that company hard. Holy shit. And fuck China.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:24 PM

      I'm late to this but this and the NBA reaction is really pissing me off.

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 4:54 PM

      /r/blizzard is a shit show right now, lol

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 5:04 PM

        34,592 readers

        46,131 users here now

      • reply
        October 8, 2019 5:30 PM

        Apparently they set it to private earlier in the day

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 5:05 PM

      This is disappointing on many levels. Glad to support Grim Dawn now as a Diablo replacement!

    • reply
      October 8, 2019 5:14 PM

      Heroes never die!

    • reply
      October 9, 2019 9:15 PM

      I didnt see this thread / article before, and i know this thread is expired, but im gonna post this here now anyway

      https://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=38974071#item_38974071

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