Blizzard Supports the Chinese Communist Party, Blizzard Communities Retaliate.
Months ago, Hong Kong had started to get into hot water. An act that would technically allow Hong Kong to be taken over by Mainland China (it gets much more specific than that but that’s the basics for you). Ever since, the streets of Hong Kong have been home to protest after protest and riot after riot. Scores of Chinese Army vans and mobs of police officers have invaded the city nearly all year and there is no sign of stopping. China will do whatever it can to have its way with Hong Kong. They’ve only shot one civilian so far, but they’ve beaten, tear-gassed and arrested hundreds of protestors and rioters. This is truly a revolution of our age and it needs all the help it can get.
So what’s this to do with videogames, huh? Recently, a Chinese Hearthstone Pro Player, Blitzchung, had voiced his support of the Hong Kong Protests in a recent interview with Chinese casters. Blizzard, immediately took action a few hours after and had disqualified Blitzchung from the tournament and currently withholds his prize money, also disallowing him to compete in professional Hearthstone for a year. This was under the clause of “Ruining the image of Blizzard.” This is the true face of Activision pulling the strings of Blizzard. They have now denounce human rights and freedom for the greed of infinite money.
Now, I don’t have a problem with appealing to other countries to gain access to their market. I have played enough Dota 2 to realize that Dota has different clients for different countries that change the game to suit those cultural needs. Perfect World, the Chinese one, censors any and all skulls, because those are offensive in Chinese culture. This includes entire heroes, map decorations, items or anything with a skull on it. It’s perfectly fine because it doesn’t effect the playerbases that aren’t offended by skulls. This is to put aside anyone that’ll come in and say “MUH CULTURALISM.” This isn’t the same censorship we’re dealing with and you know it.
This censorship is banning a pro player for freely speaking about human rights. This is a troubling event especially when Blizzard is involved, which they have always been a beacon of hope for the freedom of self expression. It’s very clear that Blizzard is destroying every one of their core values for the infinite amounts of money. In a horrible time where one of the few beacons of freedom is being snuffed out by an authoritative regime, Blizzard has now decided to pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party. If you play any Warcraft games, you will most likely be thinking of an Orc trading his soul and values for the power of the Fel.
Every Blizzard community was enraged by this (including myself) and took to every subreddit and Twitter # with the movement of Boycotting Blizzard. And, so far, Activision Blizzard’s stocks have taken a pretty good hit. The #BoycottBlizzard has been going strong and at the top of Twitter’s trending tabs for days now. Many players have tweeted them unsubscribing from World of Warcraft, uninstalling Hearthstone. Even Mark Kern, the original director for WoW, has unsubscribed from WoW Classic. Lawmakers have been alerted and are already hot on Blizzard’s trail. Recently a bunch of Blizzard employees stood outside Blizzard HQ to stand with Hong Kong. Recently they have covered the “Think globally” and “Every voice Matters” signs on the Orc statue. The internet then went about to make Mei, a Chinese character in Overwatch, support the Hong Kong protests by putting her in protester outfits and Pro-HK posters in hopes that Overwatch will be banned in China. Tracer’s Graffiti skin is already being used as Pro Hong Kong imagery as well. Even Gods Unchained, another card game, came in and offered to pay for Blitzchung’s lost winnings and a free ticket to their own tournament. Gods Unchained’s marketing team deserves a raise.
So much for ‘saving Blizzard’s image’, I guess. Maybe don’t fire everyone in a panic and have a spine and your stocks won’t get kicked in the nuts.
Unfortunately, none of these actions are changing Blizzard’s minds. In fact they’ve doubled down on the censorship as they cut away quickly from Hearthstone pro players holding up a Free Hong Kong sign during a pro match. Regardless, the fight continues. The stocks have decreased, and none of the heads of Blizzard of Activision Blizzard have spoken a peep about the debacle. There’s been insider talk that Brack is going to speak to the company but there’s nothing official on it. Regardless, the protesting will continue to run rampant until, hopefully, Blizzard changes their minds. For now, I have some pins to order. Mei in a Construction hat will do just fine. I have a few friends going to Blizzcon that I’m giving these off to.