Published: Sun, October 13, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Blizzard Suspends 'Hearthstone' Player For Supporting Hong Kong Protesters

Blizzard Suspends 'Hearthstone' Player For Supporting Hong Kong Protesters

"I could understand a fine or even a short suspension from competitive play, but removal from Grandmasters, clawing back the prizes he's already earned and banning him for a full year seems completely overboard to an extent that feels completely unwarranted and unfair". He was also wearing a mask similar to the ones the Hong Kong protesters wear. With Beijing taking a hard line on other brands caught in the mix, like television show South Park and the National Basketball Association, many in the online gaming community are now accusing Blizzard of trying to appease China. The Boycott is now getting more and more attention. The gamer can not take part in any "Hearthstone" eSports events for an entire year. "But I am from Hong Kong too, what they did broke my heart".

On Twitter, developer Mark Kern, who was a developer on World of Warcraft during Vanilla, tweeted out a screenshot of his cancelling his WoW subscription, as well as detailing why. "Now, game companies are silencing voices for freedom and democracy". "Blizzard CLEARLY only cares about the Chinese market".

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Justin "Jayne" Conroy, an assistant coach for the Dallas Fuel, accused Blizzard of "censorship" and draconian enforcement of its rules, according to a report from Tommy Magelssen of the Dallas Morning News. Text then pops up on the screen, reading, "Eliminated Blitzchung", "Eliminated self-respect", and "Eliminated credibility".

The Hearthstone Collegiate Championship will run until December 14.

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The controversy within the world of esports parallels a dispute playing out in the National Basketball Association, after a manager with the Houston Rockets caused an worldwide outcry by tweeting, and then deleting, support for the protests in Hong Kong. The broadcast quickly cut away from the AU students' camera feed. There is protest and outrage in every Blizzard Forum. This was what Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai himself thought when he wanted to send a political message through an otherwise peaceful medium. Many longtime fans accuse Blizzard of sacrificing its values to protect business in China. As a result, the game-publishing giant has faced criticism from gamers, employees, and politicians in the U.S.

Even politicians have joined in on the Blizzard backlash. But until Blizzard reverses their decision on @blitzchungHS.

Not everyone at Blizzard agrees with what happened. On r/Blizzard, a post titled "Blizzard unveils new logo", which places the Blizzard logo over the Chinese flag, has become the subreddit's most-upvoted post of all time in less than a day.

On the Twitter-like Chinese social media site Weibo, the official Blizzard account came out against the player's comments. "As a [Hong Konger], I quit [ Hearthstone] without consideration". "However, we believe that the risk we face is nominal compared to what people in Hong Kong have to deal with".

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