Hong Kong protests: Players and employees distance themselves from Blizzard (Update)

Hongkong-Proteste: Spieler und Angestellte distanzieren sich von Blizzard

A few days ago, Blizzard reacted harshly to the solidarity of an e-sportsman with demonstrators in Hong Kong voiced in a Hearthstone tournament livestream. Since then, the publisher faces growing criticism. This is increasingly not only from players, but also from other professionals and employees.

Controversy over politics in the tournament livestream

Last weekend, Blizzard broadcast a grandmaster tournament of the card game Hearthstone via livestream. In an interview following the actual game, the Hong Kong-based participant took advantage lightning Chung the given range for a political statement: In the stream he called masked according to the mass protests in the Chinese special administrative area mask and respirator to solidarity with the protesters,

Blizzard punished the incident draconian: lightning Chung has been suspended from the Grandmasters squad, receives no prize money for the current season, and is generally excluded from all Hearthstone E-Sport events for the next twelve months. The two commentators moderating the stream, the Blizzschungs Were allowed to rally at all, were dismissed without notice. The live stream interrupted Blizzard abruptly with a commercial break and then deleted the recording.

Players are outraged and are sharply criticized

The publisher relies on the official rules of the Grandmaster League: any behavior that “offends a part or group of the public” or but “damaged the reputation of Blizzard“, Leads to the exclusion of the responsible player. The approach, however, drew not least in view of the increased punishment the overwhelming criticism of the players. The allegations range from mere censorship to the support of an authoritarian regime: It is clear that the developers bow to China, as the market would simply have financial priority. It is also reported that the Chinese Internet company Tencent holds around 5 percent of Activision Blizzard's shares.

Indeed, it is true that the Chinese government is consistently censoring all criticism of her or her actions, even Winnie the Pooh was banned from the state after he was said to have a visual resemblance to head of government Xi Jinping at the beginning of the year. The same thing players are trying to Blizzard: In response to the clear in their eyes Blizzards on the side of the Chinese government is trying to associate the Overwatch heroine Mei with solidarity to Hong Kong. The Chinese character has since become part of numerous memes and leaflets promoting a free Hong Kong. The goal of the effort is to move China to the local spell Overwatchs, which would make Blizzard financially difficult.

Blizzard employees strike in protest

But criticism is also coming from other Hearthstone professionals who are in solidarity with lightning Chung retire from the Grandmaster League. And there's growing criticism from within the ranks: Last Tuesday, a large number of Blizzard employees quit work and demonstrated in front of the company's headquarters in California with umbrellas that became the symbol of Hong Kong protesters. In front of that is also the figure of an orc warrior, around whom eight basic values ​​of Blizzard are engraved in metal plates. The two inscriptions “Think globally” and “Every Voice Matter“Are currently hidden.

The debate over Blizzard's harsh measures also reached American politics: Several US senators criticized the publisher. In the meantime, players are trying in droves to delete their own Blizzard account or cancel paid subscriptions and share screenshots of the final confirmation view on the Internet. However, deleting an account sometimes requires multiple verification steps, so the onslaught the servers were overloaded, Meanwhile, customers accuse Blizzard of intentionally paralyzing the system. European users are therefore overwhelming the publisher with requests to delete all their personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation – these tickets currently have a processing time of 30 days.

An official statement is pending

Blizzard's leaders are trying to ignore the debacle so far; The publisher has maintained an opinion since the original proclamation of the consequences for lightning Chung guilty. In the meantime, players are looking forward to the BlizzCon fair, which will take place in early November. Already last year, in the wake of the announcement of Diablo Immortal, a mobile game, it caused some ridicule and derision on the part of the visitors, which Blizzard was only able to conceal in live broadcasts.

Update 12.10.2019 14:12

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