What’s Going on at Blizzard?
For those out the loop, Blizzard banned a Hearthstone player for a year from any competition and took his winnings after showing support of a protest in China. The protest is basically about the poor socioeconomic conditions and bringing democracy to the region.
Many consumers in the U.S.A, where Blizzard is based, didn’t take too kindly to their ruling. Now, the company is reducing the ban to six months and the player is able to keep the $10,000 prize money he won.
On top of a protest being planned for Blizzcon and employees staging a walkout, gamers have spoken with their wallets. Some have canceled their WoW subscriptions, such as Mark Kern, who led the team that created the title.
— Mark Kern (@Grummz) October 9, 2019
Blitzchung recently released a statement regarding the situation. “As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention,” Blitzchung said. He went on to acknowledge the consequences by saying, “It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.”
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack came out to explain why the ban happened.
“The official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game,” Brack said. He continued on saying, “There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast.”
Big Trouble in Little U.S
China was in the news this week also for suspending NBA broadcasts after Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted support of the protests. The league has gotten criticism over the perceived lack of support for Morey.
China also recently banned South Park, after an episode took aim at Chinese policy titled “Band in China”. Oregon senator Ron Wyden said via Twitter, “No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck.“. Wyden said this in reaction to the gaming company’s ban.
Blizzard is also partly owned by the Chinese holding company Tencent. The company claims that the investor had no influence on their ban.
League of Legends developer Riot Games has decided they don’t want the smoke after seeing Blizzard getting roasted all week. They have asked casters and pro players to keep politics away from broadcasts and it is not allowed for the 2019 championships.
We’ll keep you updated as this situation seems far from over for the publisher and others. Don’t forget to stay connected with The Nerd Stash on Facebook and follow me Twitter for the latest on nerd goodness.
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