Blizzard Suspends 'Hearthstone' Player For Supporting Hong Kong Protesters

Epic Games CEO clarifies stance on political speech amid Blizzard-Hong Kong controversy

This is in direct response to how Blizzard has handled the situation surrounding a professional Hearthstone player supporting the plight of Hong Kong and Blizzard's subsequent ban on the player.

"Hearthstone" player Ng Wai Chung, also known as "Blitzchung" in the game, was banned by Blizzard following the "Hearthstone" Asia-Pacific Grandmasters tournament. What was previously an obvious decision is much less obvious now, ' they added.

USA lawmakers from both sides of the aisle tweeted Tuesday that Activision Blizzard's decision to censor one of its players' political views speaks to a wider concern about China's market power being used as leverage to stifle free speech worldwide. Shares of the company have gained ground since slumping earlier this week.

Based on a screenshot taken by @ben_orlebeke on Twitter, Jayne's deleted tweet originally read, "While I recognize the right that Blizzard_Ent has to enforce their rules and standards on competitors such as @blizchungHS, I condemn the censorship and severity of consequences brought against an individual who was campaigning for a human rights social movement".

Activision merged with Blizzard as part of a deal with Vivendi in 2008.

Blizzard is just the latest American company to have its relationship with China come under scrutiny. This is true for World of Warcraft, Diablo, and the game that sparked this whole controversy, Hearthstone.

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There are even hints of possible discontent within Blizzard. This is going to be bad news for Blizzard, given that the company is aiming to reverse its massive gaffe in last year's convention after it announced that they're planning to create a "Diablo" mobile game.

One such post showing a subscription cancellation garnered more than 112,000 upvotes on Reddit, with many other players commenting that they would do the same. "Now, game companies are silencing voices for freedom and democracy".

These actions led to a massive uproar from fans, calling their efforts against the player unfair and corporately interested, as well as an activity that gives into the interests of China, who has been suppressing the ongoing riots and resistance efforts in Hong Kong for over 17 weeks now.

Analysts expect Call of Duty to generate $1.1 billion in revenue for Activision in the final three months of 2019, or more than 40% of its revenue in the key Christmas quarter. A petition regarding Blizzard's decision has reportedly also been making the rounds at the company's headquarters; the petition will be presented to the company's executives although there's been no mention what the petition specifically contained. Chung appeared on the live stream in a gas mask and voiced his support of Hong Kong protestors while the commentators hid their faces and the stream cut to commercial. Blizzard has won praise for the diverse set of characters populating its multiplayer game "Overwatch". The Chinese government has already banned "Winnie the Pooh" after internet users likened the cartoon bear's appearance to Chinese president Xi Jinping.

The disgruntled employees that staged the walkout took it upon themselves to cover two of these core values: Every Voice Matters and Think Globally, in a symbolic act of protest against Blizzard's decision from Tuesday. On top of that, Blizzard is withholding any winnings that Blitzchung earned, which has been reported to be around $10,000.

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