24

Weak Hand

October 11, 2019 by Tim

In case you’ve had your internet turned off for the past week, after a recent Hearthstone tournament match, a player from Hong Kong made a statement in support of Hong Kong (if you don’t know why Hong Kong is getting support, that’s more moving parts than I can recap for you). Blizzard, which is part-owned by Chinese mega-company Tencent and presumably likes all the money they get from China, turned around and cancelled this player’s tournament winnings and banned him from tournament play for a year.

Okay. I can see where Blizzard is coming from in this thing. They are a business, and they have a revenue stream to protect. But just because it’s within their right to punish this player, doesn’t mean I can agree that it’s right to punish this player.

I know a lot of people like to declare things as apolitical spaces; video games are one of those areas people like to attach to the “keep your politics out of my [insert X here]” phrase. I think that’s naive nonsense, to be honest. Video games are made by people, for people, and people are political. Even the absence of a political statement can be political. But that’s neither here nor there.

If Blizzard doesn’t want their platforms used to promote certain opinions, they can run things that way. They can excercise that incredibly vague “at our discretion” language in their terms and conditions. But they can also approach the situation in a manner that makes them look less like lapdogs rushing to avoid offense to glorious leader for fear of getting the lash. Their punishment of this player was overkill in my opinion, and the whole thing is not a good look on Blizzard.


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zenoth
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zenoth

ahahaha the stats on that card, i love it

Kitsuneko
Guest
Kitsuneko

Considering that the story involves China and Hong Kong, I wonder why the character in red bears the hammer and sickle of the old Soviet Union rather than the five stars on China’s flag.

Jéquiyot
Guest
Jéquiyot

It’s because the hammer and sickle, while having originated in the Soviet Union, is now also a greater symbol of communism.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

China isn’t really Communist though, Private companies have a *lot* of autonomy in China and China’s approach of requiring majority share to be owned by a Chinese representative I’d strongly say is a good model on how post-soviet and emerging economies *should* approach business relationships with much more financed conglomerates.

A lot of countries have seen their industries totally fucked by blindly trusting richer corporations coming in to “Help”

ronySky
Guest
ronySky

China applies state capitalism, but because it’s run by the CPC, it’s easier to call it Communist.

Swiftbow
Guest

Yes, they’re effectively fascist now, but they call it communism (because that’s how they started out). Both systems suck balls, but fascism involves somewhat less starving to death.

For historical reference, they WERE starving to death under communism, which is why they partially privatized farm ownership (I think in the 80s), which worked, so they partially privatized the rest of the economy. I say “partially” because the state still effectively controls EVERYTHING, it’s just that the people allowed to keep profits.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

Right. For all of his Populist zeal Mao wasn’t actually any good at like…organizing anything. an estimated 30 million dead from starvation and then anyone who pointed out the starving people for not being patriotic enough. The more I listen to documentaries during my relatively chill job of coding the more I realize that for Communism to work it needs to depend on interactions with Capitalist systems to fill in the many, many needs it can’t meet on it’s own and for Capitalism to work beyond the point when the economy is run by a handful of oligopolies it needs… Read more »

Lionfire
Guest

It’s the flag of the Communist Party of China. The Soviet Union’s flag used a slightly different sickle (and had a star).

Twiddle
Guest
Twiddle

Dumbed down for American audiences, most likely.

Dumb American
Guest
Dumb American

Spoken by the guy too uneducated and/or lazy to know, or GOOGLE, what the official CPC symbol looks like. The irony slays me!

Mizon
Guest
Mizon

They also fired/banned the caster as they let it happen.

Skyblade
Guest
Skyblade

Both of the casters. Who hid immediately because they knew what was coming, and that there was nothing they could do about it.

Phisidium
Guest
Phisidium

and the funny thing is – if they had done nothing, then no one would have cared. Now its ‘front-page’ news and his message of ‘free HK’ is getting more attention

Eldest Gruff
Guest

Waaaait… what if that WAS THEIR INTENTION ALL ALONG????*

*no it wasn’t.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

Unfortunately, if they had done nothing there’s at least one group that would care: the Chinese government. Blizzard would probably get labeled as a subversive propagandist organization and banned from China. Meaning, shutting down their operations there, laying off hundreds of employees, ending service to millions of gamers who bought their games, and possibly even having their offices raided or worse employees criminally detained under suspicion.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Possible but unlikely for a single event. Most likely the Asian stream would have been shut down and the streamers fired and that happened anyway.

wkz
Guest
wkz

Are you willing to risk that?

Oh… of course you are. You’re safe, wherever you are. But is Blizzard willing to risk it?

Well, we all have their answer…

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

Not saying that I don’t get why Blizzard did what it did and what would have happened if they did not… yet…. … every time China gets to use unjust and underhanded leverage to assuage its surprisingly fragile ego (most countries the size and power of China might well just shrug it off), they get encouraged to do more of that. At some point, the only way to not kowtow to them forever after is for not just some of us, but all of us, and that includes governments and corporations, have to say ‘enough of this’ and refuse to… Read more »

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

All those bots farming the games would be out of jobs. Damn shame. XD

Odin
Guest
Odin

thanks so much for this comic. it really sums up in just a few panels a lot of what is going wrong in the industry at the moment. chinese have large shares on companies like epic, paradox, ubisoft, blizzard, and many more. a good post about it can also be found here:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1181736075775004672.html

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

This behaviour on behalf of the Chinese state extends far beyond the gaming industry. They use various unscrupulous levers to try to coerce corporations and corporations and they organize Chinese diaspora in Western Countries to tamp down on criticism or other decisions the Chinese leaders don’t love. Individuals they can reach, they just arrest or disappear. As bad as the Russian oligarchs are, and they’re pretty lousy, the Chinese state is a horrible player on the world stage. At some point, that’s either going to put them and their rules all over the planet or there will have to be… Read more »

Scortch
Guest
Scortch

Man, and I thought last year’s Blizzcon announcing Diablo mobile was a PR nightmare. This year’s con is going to be interesting for sure of they don’t find a way to fix this thing.

Stephen Nagy
Guest
Stephen Nagy

Yeah… Battle for Azeroth was an unpopular mess, Diablo Inferno was a mobile game with micropayments pitched to an audience of hardcore PC gamers still fresh off the heels of the Starwars Battlefront 2 fiasco, Heroes of the Dorm’s shutdown was already a massive PR clusterfuck… and now this. Its like, what the fuck happened? Is this really the same company that released some of the best older RTS games on the market and created an MMO that defined the entire genre and other companies tried and failed for years to top? When I saw Blizzcon and the announcements of… Read more »

sarahlost36
Guest
sarahlost36

Haven’t most of the people who made Blizzard Blizzard left and been replaced by the finance guys who hire monetization engineers(and I thought lawyers were scummy).

Killiak
Guest
Killiak

Yes, original Blizzard is dead as can be. All that remains is a legacy.

Vedrit
Guest
Vedrit

Move over Ship of Theseus, make way for Company of Blizzard.
If all the employees and chief officers get replaced, one by one, over time, is it still Blizzard?

Dizrupt
Guest
Dizrupt

Jeff ‘Tigole’ Kaplan is an OG dev and is still there, but being on the Overwatch team he probably had nothing to do with this recent shitshow,

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

Hear hear! A company can’t survive on just legacy alone. They -had- great games. They still have -good- games, but the market has stronger competition. You’ve got companies like Nintendo releasing beasts like Breath of the Wild, you’ve got Sony pumping out a fresh God of War, and heck, I’ll even throw a bone to Hello Games who are tirelessly working to change No Man’s Sky from a false promise to a good game. Look, I get it, a company is there to make money, but for that to happen there has to be a decent product to sell. For… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

At least one major Mai cosplayer has already updated her costume with Hong Kong symbols and lots of people who bought tickets already are going to bring umbrellas and signs.

Vicente Sampedro Burgos
Guest
Vicente Sampedro Burgos

I saw that cosplay and its a real pitty that it won’t ever become an official skin

James Rye
Guest
James Rye

Didn’t they also delete the option to delete your Blizzard account because so many people tried to leave or was that just an Internet rumor?

xvasek
Guest
xvasek

It’s Chinese, you can’t just leave.

Merendel
Guest
Merendel

I’ve heard both ways on that rumor. I’d go check but my account has been idle for years and I’d probably have to password recover just to check if theres an option to delete. not worth the hassle at this point

John
Guest
John

I heard that rumor aswell, the belief was that too many people were canceling subscriptions and deleting account that it overloaded the, likely small, server for those actions. Not sure if thats true, or even plausible though. I took a quick look and I couldnt find an option to disable auto renewal of my WoW subscription other than outright canceling it which likely gives no refund, or removing the payment option which also probably cancels it. I hate forced auto renewals.

Urazz
Guest
Urazz

Yeah, cancelling your subscription never gave you a refund. You pretty much just have the time you bought left. Luckily, auto-renewal only happens when your time is up. Most people I know generally don’t cancel their subscription right at the end of their subscribed time when the auto-renewal happens.

As for deleting your Blizzard account, no idea if that is possible. Never tried to do that for mine since I used the same account for multiple games of theirs like Overwatch, StarCraft 2, etc.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Yeah, I believe EA did that for SWTOR as well. Just had a re-sub on that and you can only remove payment options. no account delete available that I could see.

Facade98
Guest
Facade98

So I tried to delete my long unused Blizzard account just to verify and yes, they took away all options to confirm except sending them a valid government ID. Which NO ONE should have to do.

Mike
Guest
Mike

That’s not necessarily tied to this. Blizzard accounts being extremely hot property and vulnerable to hacking, being able to just “Delete” one at the click of a button could cost a legitimate player literal days of their life and potentially hundreds of dollars in attached games and MT goods. Some sort of verification process is both understandable and, quite frankly, necessary to prevent such abuses.

Deborah
Guest

I had to send them my divorce decree and marriage license just to get an old last name off my account, about 13 years ago now. Which I thought was a tad bit nutty at the time. So requiring documentation isn’t new. Though requiring it to delete the *account,* that’s . . . odd.

Gwydion_Wolf
Guest
Gwydion_Wolf

Look at it from the perspective of someone who has their account ‘stolen’ by some vengeful hacker and got a message that it was ‘deleted’. Now imagine you had sunk thousands of dollars into HOTS Skins, and other micro-transation things on Blizzard games. These things are forever gone as of the deletion and i seriously doubt Blizzard has any type of ‘fail-safe’ in place to ‘rescue’ a deleted account and all of its attached games, items, ect. Requiring you to ‘verify your identity’ before deleting what could ‘potentially’ be a large sum of non-backed-up IP that they cannot replace is… Read more »

Croidhubh
Guest
Croidhubh

It’s illegal to require it.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I saw one person confirm that the ID requirement was there 2 years ago.

Robert Loughrey
Guest
Robert Loughrey

If you’re going to delete the account anyhow just make sure the credit card isn’t attached, and Ignore it. It cant hurt you.

Stantasio
Guest
Stantasio

Ironically similar things have happened elsewhere. As you may or may not know the NBA also had a player express support for the Hong Kong protesters and Democracy and when China responded not liking that the NBA crumpled and chastised that player because they have millions to billions of dollars tied up in business with China.

Ashi
Guest
Ashi

And let’s not forget Apple…I wonder how many people spamming their copypastas are doing it from their iphones?

TimeViewer
Guest
TimeViewer

His reply was totally disgusting, “we have much love for the people”. I’d have accepted an honest response, if they’d changed the word people to money, it would still be disgusting but at least it would be HONEST.

TBone
Guest
TBone

The same thing happened to the South Park series. In retaliation for comparing the Chinese leader to Winnie the Pooh, China has removed all existence of South Park from their internet. So far the creators of SP have not given in, even issued a fake “apology”.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Matt and Trey went the full opposite. Their 300th episode from the 9th has Randy shouting “F*** the Chinese Government”

Urazz
Guest
Urazz

Yeah, got to love South Park, they have balls of steel and won’t give in at all.

Vedrit
Guest
Vedrit

I don’t like South Park, but I will respect the creators for sticking to their principals.

OutbackJon
Guest
OutbackJon

Their PC Principals? (OK, Vedrit, you probably don’t watch South Park, but some others here will get the joke.)

Mike
Guest
Mike

Not a player, but a General Manager. (Little real difference, I know, but…)

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

Nobody wants to stand up to the bully, but then that means the bully can pretty much dictate to everyone.

Dan
Guest
Dan

A guy caught cheating got a less serious ban, fuck Blizzard and any boot licker who defends them.

James Kite
Guest

I believe the player has an offer from another studio, not sure of the precise details though.

Joel
Guest
Joel
Uniqum
Guest
Uniqum

Wanted to try Hearthstone for quite a while already.
Don’t want to do that anymore.
My heartfelt thanks to Blizzard for saving me that otherwise wasted portion of my lifetime! :p
(No, I never was interested in the franchise from which Hearthstone originated at all either. Won’t even look up its name now!)

ArdentSlacker
Guest
ArdentSlacker

I suggest looking at MTG:Arena. The only streamers I know that did hearthstone switched like, a year ago. It’s a slick client, it’s a pretty reasonable free-to-play experience for a collectible card game. You can save up the free currency to enter drafts… that give you a fair amount of cards and your # of wins gives you some amount of the premium currency.

It is still, yanno, functionally competitive gambling with lootboxes, but it’s Magic, so it’s kinda grandfathered into acceptability… and it’s a fun game at the core.

Pulse
Guest
Pulse

i DARE another of their champion players to go on a live rant on his desire to see all the mexicans deported out of america or executed. if they dont ban him too the comics point stands. otherwise its literally a matter of keep politics out of video games and this guy got the stick for trying to do so and now blizzard is getting the stick because everyone is on a hate china rant right now. i understand why you would be, but that doesnt stop your end sounding VERY racist to be making stuff like this and acting… Read more »

Sayer
Guest
Sayer

That is not how “racism” works. No one is absolved from criticism wholesale because it might “sound” racist.

Pulse
Guest
Pulse

ya i would love to be able to agree with you, but as a white person its literally impossible for me to be critically of a non-white person without being called a racist. not so fun when the double-edged sword is pointed out is it.

Eldest Gruff
Guest

Um, I’m a white person, and I also know, work with, and am friends with people who are not the same race, and you know what?

It’s not hard to voice valid criticism of someone else and not be seen as a racist. You just literally have to treat them like a human being. Pretty simple and straightforward.

I’m not buying the “oh poor me, I’m a disadvantaged white male” schtick. IF any of us get unfairly treated, it’s like a teaspoon’s worth of injustice compared to a keg.

ArdentSlacker
Guest
ArdentSlacker

Ah, see, your problem is that you’re lying about what you mean by “be critical”. Try recording one of those conversations so people can show you the exact words you’re using that make you sound racist. It’s actually very easy to be critical of someone of any race if you just aren’t an asshole. And you do have to learn to not back up your bullshit with racism. You’re pretending every white guy has this problem, and we do not. Only the racist assholes who simply refuse to listen and learn and do better. When I fuck up and say… Read more »

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

You can always be called anything. That doesn’t make it true in any way.

People can call you racist for a variety of reasons. Doesn’t make them correct.

And the massive over-reaction to the action says this goes far beyond just saying ‘hey, keep politics out’. That message could have been conveyed with a ban from future games for a while or a minor fine or something. What they did was what China demanded.

Eeyup.
Guest
Eldest Gruff
Guest

*slow clap*

Also… I think it’s a WEE bit of a false equivalence for Pulse to compare one person saying his nation should be free, to another person saying his nation should possibly murder over a million people for what is, after all, a misdemeanor.

Your example is right on.

Leo
Guest
Leo

XENOPHOBIA AGAINST CHINA is on the rise.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

Driven solidly by the exceptional leverage the Chinese government uses to coerce other national governments, NGOs, corporations and individuals (that they can’t just arrest or disappear). A fear for something different when that other is actually doing things that anyone of any race or government ought to be doing is not misplaced or inappropriate. If the US was doing what China has been these last years to stomp any criticism or decision it doesn’t like, they’d be getting the same criticism (and at times have gotten criticized for some actions, but bush league compared to the current Chinese regime). If… Read more »

ShadeFawks
Guest
ShadeFawks

actually the American University team all held up signs saying “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz.” in the middle of a tournament stream. Blizzard didn’t punish or say anything about it. So they all forfeited the tournament.

TimeViewer
Guest
TimeViewer

Never buying anything Blizzard again, ever

The Legacy
Guest
The Legacy

Blizzard was caught in the worst of Catch-22’s. On the one hand, they may have alienated a good part of western gamers, but saved their relationship with China, whose market is larger than the *entire* population of the United States *combined* On the other hand, had they spoken in support of their casters and player, though they would have saved their reputation with the West, they could have faced a *complete* ban from China’s government. Strictly financially speaking, it makes complete sense why Blizzard did what they did; sacrifice part of their market with the West, in exchange for maintaining… Read more »

AHoopyFrod
Guest
AHoopyFrod

The Chinese market isn’t bigger though. They have a larger population but currently the “Americas” market makes significantly more money (55% of total revenue in Q2 2019) than the “Asia-Pacific” one (12%) for Blizzard.
This is about future profit. That Diablo mobile game everyone hates is being developed by a Chinese company and is targeted at the Chinese market. Same with CoD Mobile.
Point is, this wasn’t make or break for Blizzard. They’re still pretty new to that market so taking a more temperate stance wouldn’t have been a death blow to their bottom line.

ArdentSlacker
Guest
ArdentSlacker

China’s need to censor shit is insane, and capitulating to it… not worthwhile. See, even if they do everything right, the people in control are actually insane. Like any crazed dictator. Look at Epic Store. It’s got TenCent owning 40% of them, right? Which seemed like “OMG, they’re going to turn everything into shitty gatcha games!” doomsday telling… but… China stopped issuing permits to make new games for a year or so. Can you imagine? Your entire industry can’t expand because the censors decided to take a sabbatical. No reason given. None discernible politically. Just indifferent autocrats not giving a… Read more »

Alyric
Guest
Alyric

And hell, next month China’s government could declare that video games are a detriment to the people and unilaterally ban them. Forever, or until they change their mind.

Because that’s how dictatorships work. Shame that so many American companies and organizations seem willing to capitulate to them anyway. NBA, I’m looking at you.

Urazz
Guest
Urazz

Blizzard could’ve went in the middle of the road and kept the messaging neutral and said we don’t allow any kind of political talk in our game events. In that way, they were well within their rights to fire the casters and suspend that player. Instead Blizzard decided to kiss China’s ass in their message to them and were acting neutral in the English message to everyone else and got caught doing so. This was an entire mess of their own making just like last year’s Blizzcon when they just announced Diablo Immortal but didn’t announce Diablo 4 with it.… Read more »

Stephen Nagy
Guest
Stephen Nagy

Wound up uninstalling Battle.net from my computer last night. I’d been meaning to do it anyways (I hadn’t even looked at it since Shadowbringers came out) but, yeah, this kinda cemented it for me that my time in Azeroth was over.

Aurilia
Guest
Aurilia

The Hong Kong player in question made his political statement on Blizzard’s Official Taiwan stream. Since Taiwan is “officially” part of China (and China is fiercely protective of that association), the incident can be said to have occurred on a China-based stream. Therefore, Blizzard’s hands were tied in this matter. No matter what they think of the situation in Hong Kong, no matter what they think about continuing to do business with China, Blizzard had to respond according to the regulations they have in place for a professional Hearthstone player doing such. Which was suspending the player and withholding prize… Read more »

Tores
Guest
Tores

I thought it was “officially” nothing. Not part of the UN and not part of China. Anyway, Blizzard had plenty of maneuver space (the ruling in question is deliberately vague) and in the past they have handled esports issues taking plenty of time to come with a decision. For the aforementioned case of collaborating in cheating the player Roger got its punishment one year after the facts where proved. What is not mentioned above is that the punishment was less harsh, as they didn’t get back any winnings and they delayed the ban to allow him to participate to last… Read more »

Swiftbow
Guest

Taiwan is only “officially” part of China according to China.

Taiwan is, in reality, a completely separate (and much better) country than their mainland neighbor.

Some guy
Guest
Some guy

According to the UN. US and all other major countries. Taiwan IS part of China

Leon
Guest
Leon

China screws us again……

The Schaef
Guest
The Schaef

On the bright side, r/prequelmemes is having a renaissance right now in the wake of this.

TheCK
Guest
TheCK

To me the whole thing is far more simple. If the player broke something from the code of conduct or rules that were laid out before the tournament then Blizzard is within their rights. If they are trying to pull a – you can’t do this after the fact then that ain’t right. The software industry as a whole is the shadiest bunch of bull crap to ever exist. Virtually every EULA out there says that the day after you buy it – if the development wants to they can take it back and refund you nothing – other than… Read more »

GeorgeV
Guest
GeorgeV

” If the player broke something from the code of conduct or rules that were laid out before the tournament then Blizzard is within their rights.” Technically you are correct, but you’re ignoring that those rules are deliberately left so vague (‘say anything that offends anyone’) that Blizzard is always essentially within their rights to do whatever they want. Whether they punish someone or not is mostly a result of Blizzard’s choice of how strictly to enforce their rules, not the rules themselves. Furthermore, the problem isn’t that Blizzard decided to penalize the player. That could’ve been justifiable (if a… Read more »

Skyblade
Guest
Skyblade

Also, don’t forget, the stream casters were fired as well, and they didn’t even take part.

Dizrupt
Guest
Dizrupt

They knew ahead of time what he was going to say and told him to say it before hiding behind their monitors. Not in anyway defending Blizzard, but they weren’t exactly completely innocent bystanders either.

Eldest Gruff
Guest

Seeing as my favorite Blizzard property is The Lost Vikings… yeah, I guess boycotting them is kinda easy for me.

Good ol’ Activision. Maybe they’re better in some regards, but to me, they’re the ‘other EA’.

AHoopyFrod
Guest
AHoopyFrod

The whole “Keep politics out of my gaming” stance on this particular story isn’t even an option at this point. Blizzard dropping the ban hammer wasn’t apolitical, at the end of the day its a move that supports a totalitarian regime over free speech. It’s a statement, that while driven by money, is absolutely political. (And don’t let the fact that it was the Taiwanese stream this happened on slip past you. You can be fairly confident that’s why the casters were canned as well. Double political.) I think the part the grosses me out the most is that this… Read more »

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

That’s the thing, though. In this situation there was literally no way Blizzard could react to this situation without it being taken as a political act, whether they supported the pro-Hong Kong statement, issued penalties or did absolutely nothing. It’s just lose-lose for them no matter what they do, which is why they have these kinds of penalties implemented in the first place as a deterrence to prevent people from dragging the company into controversy.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

Really, why should anything an individual says be generating blowback to the company? The company should simply say ‘this individual expressed his opinion’ and ‘we are not showing any support for his ideas, but we had nothing to do with his choice’. The blowback comes because with China, with ‘small dog’ syndrome, the state goes after anyone that dares to challenge the post-Maoist government whose only goal is to be let do what it wants without being challenged. THAT is not right. Blizzard caving to it may be protecting shareholders and an agreement, but it now has now ground to… Read more »

Casra
Guest
Casra

It wasn’t just the player, they also banned the casters. I already told my wife no more Blizz spending. They wanna do that, aces, I can stand up in my own way.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

As I understand it, though, the casters encouraged the player to make his statements. And these statements were being broadcast live on stream to millions of Chinese. Considering that it places Blizzard’s operations and employees directly into the crosshairs of the Chinese government it’s not surprising that the casters got fired.

Skyblade
Guest
Skyblade

Citation needed, my little communist shill. From what I’ve heard, the casters were just casting the game, and ducked and hid as soon as he started making a statement because they knew what was going to happen, and that there was nothing they can do.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

Here’s an article from hearthstonetopdeck where they state that, in context, the casters encouraged Blitzchung to say what he wanted to and did nothing to stop him: https://www.hearthstonetopdecks.com/blitzchung-removed-from-grandmasters-over-a-controversial-hong-kong-interview-and-banned-from-competing-for-a-year-casters-fired/ Here’s an article from verge where they link a Twitter user who translates that the casters egged Blitzchung on to “say the eight words and then we’ll cut the stream”: https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/8/20904308/hearthstone-player-blitzchung-hong-kong-protesters-ban-blizzard Also, I’m not a “little communist shill”. I believe in responsible, well-regulated capitalism, and I’m concerned for the well-being of the hundreds of Blizzard employees in Shanghai who may now be targeted by the authoritarian Chinese government for subversive propagandism thanks… Read more »

Dizrupt
Guest
Dizrupt

They explicitly said “Ok now you can say your seven words” before ducking behind their monitors.

Facade98
Guest
Facade98

I absolutely understand and agree with the sentiment that they are allowed as a company to make the decision that they did but they also have to suck up and deal with the consumer making their also completely valid choice to criticize that decision and take their business elsewhere. Will it matter to Blizzard in the long run? Tough to say but the timing this close to BlizzCon will and should make them very uncomfortable.

Ian Stimson
Guest
Ian Stimson

In my view it seems reasonable to me that players, viewers, customers and staff should be allowed to give political commentary but the corporations running the games should aim to be a-political themselves. barring of course obvious racism/sexism which should be dealt with as and when it appears.

and i’d argue that this goes for every type of business not just games

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

I have complicated opinions about the Hong Kong issue, specifically considering its history as both a British colony as well as, essentially, a point of attack and pirate haven used to undermine what used to be the Imperial Chinese government with opium smuggling, and the following government which was an ally of ours in both World Wars and had also been promised that Hong Kong would be returned *to* them after Britain removed itself from its role there. But I also think China is approaching this the wrong way as well, and I honestly don’t have a suggestion that doesn’t… Read more »

destino
Guest
destino

I think we are seeing the end of hypocrisy, all the big companies are showing their true colors, either by doing stupid moves like this one, or by forcing ridiculous microtransactions like EA and Bethesda’, anyway, dark times.

Alcor
Guest
Alcor

So, the funny thing is the rule is sketchier than the punishment. The punishment is stipulated by the rule, so they had to levy this ridiculous overkill. Prize money withheld, etc. But, their rule is super flexible…so they could have decided this wasn’t a breach. There’s also this weird thing about the casters?

Their finances aren’t doing well, though, which is why I expect this happened. China is picky, and shareholders want money. China also has billions of people.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

The rule is broad to cover any kinds of infractions that may prove damaging to Blizzard, both known (streaking, shouting expletives, bigoted commentary, etc.) and also unknown (e.g. recently someone was throwing up the OK symbol on their streams for alt-right lulz, which Blizzard staff wasn’t aware was even being used in that way). They can’t cover every possible horrible thing people can do because unfortunately people are pretty creative with their mischief, so they leave it at their discretion to determine.

Boomchickenpop
Guest
Boomchickenpop

Can’t escape this story to save my life….I agree with what you said mind you…but man it just…too much? Forums, FB, now comics…Eh just one strip after all.

MarthKoopa
Guest
MarthKoopa

This is one of the dumbest controversies I’ve seen on the internet. Guy was banned because he made political commentary at an event where he was under a contract stating to not do such a thing. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH CHINA. Guy broke a contract, plain and simple. Shut the fuck up about it already.

GeorgeV
Guest
GeorgeV

It has everything to do with China. The only reason Blizzard went nuclear with the punishments is to appease China, by making an example of someone daring to speak up against China.They even fired the casters because they got involved with the player making a statement against China.

Punishing the player for making inappropriate statements during an interview would’ve been fine, but that’s not what happened here. The penalties are way out of proportion for such an offense. Everything about the penalty Blizzard issued is politically motivated, appeasing China by joining their aggressive policies to deny free speech against them.

MarthKoopa
Guest
MarthKoopa

It has nothing to do with China and the punishments were completely normal. Don’t break the rules and you won’t be punished.

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

A+ bootlicker mentality Marth. Really commendable. You’d have made a great German circa 1940.

MarthKoopa
Guest
MarthKoopa

I’m not licking any boots. Activision is an awful company, but Gamers are the whiniest bunch of turds to ever exist and will overblow anything just to make some noise and feel like they’re important

Batmoose
Guest
Batmoose

You’re posting this on a comic that is all about gaming, gaming commentary and fantastical stories.
Found the CCP Shill.

aoenaerg
Guest
aoenaerg

Yeah, why lick their boots when you can stick your tongue deep in their assholes.

aoenaerg
Guest
aoenaerg

Yeah, why lick their boots when you can stick your tongue deep in their @$$holes.

Anonymous bastard!
Guest
Anonymous bastard!

Lick lick lickily lick says the bootlicker

Skyblade
Guest
Skyblade

And how did the two people casting the stream, who were merely present and had nothing to do with the statement, “break the rules”?

MarthKoopa
Guest
MarthKoopa

Because they were encouraging the conversation instead of trying to steer the situation away from something they aren’t allowed to talk about

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

Keep in mind these penalties were passed down by Blizzard Taiwan, Taiwan has a long history of combating communism in China and consider themselves the rightful sovereigns of the country, they support the Hong Kong protesters. It’s doubtful that the Taiwanese would pass down these quick judgments to pacify the mainland communist Chinese. The penalties were already in the Hearthstone competitive ruleset, which Blitzchung agreed to as a competitor. You interpret them as being a punishment for his statement, but in reality they are designed as a harsh deterrence to prevent people from using their platforms in ways that drag… Read more »

matt
Guest
matt

Is it necessarily their right to cancel his winnings? If he already won…

I can see how it would be their right to ban him from competition. Or even from their platform entirely. Otherwise it is like Adobe trying to tell Venezuelans “thanks for the money, but we are canceling your CC subscriptions and we can’t give you your money back”

Oh wait, they did that even though they admitted it wouldn’t actually stand up in court (IE be legal). At least they back pedaled a day or three later and said they will offer refunds.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

The penalty of having the prize winnings revoked were already codified in the Hearthstone competitive ruleset, which the player agreed to before entering the tournament. He knew that he would be risking the prize pool by making his statement, he broke their contractual agreement and thus forfeited his winnings.

dread
Guest
dread

ho boy, you might not like what Blizzard has done in this particular instance, but try using the golden rule here. If such stuff is ok then they might as well use tournaments to push for their whatever political interests. “Tump2020 Make America greaterest again” caps all around, would you find that acceptable? What the guy did was over political and nipping that in the bud was the right decision. It’s irrelevant what the cause was

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

“Even the absense of a political statement can be political.”

The absence of a political statement is inherently political.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. ” – Desmond Tutu

Wise words. There is so such thing as neutrality in the face of evil. It’s morally indefensible.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

Then are you going to boycott every other gaming company until they come forward in solidarity with Hong Kong? Strange that I didn’t see you or anyone else ragging on Blizzard last week when they were neutral on Hong Kong.

Makes me wonder if your ethos is built on consistent principle or just shallow, reactionary virtue signaling.

The rAt
Guest
The rAt

T.J., that particular philosophy has always bothered me. It sounds great on paper, but a lot of people identify diametrically opposed things/people as evil. And right now (current topic aside) we are very much encouraged to think of anyone we disagree with as “evil”. Most of the people who you believe to be evil believe you to be evil. Even people who agree on principle being evil don’t always agree on the degree of evil, or what course of action is appropriate. Context is important, is what I’m saying, I suppose. I agree that inaction sometimes needs to be challenged.… Read more »

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

The punishments were explicitly outlined in the Hearthstone competitive rules before Blitzchung ever made his statements. They were instituted as a deterrent precisely to prevent people from exploiting their public-facing platforms in just such a manner that drags them into undesirable controversy. Imagine if a player after the Overwatch League Finals got up on stage and chanted “Make America Great Again! Build that Wall! Lock her up!”, if they allow speech like Blitzchung’s then they have to allow speech like this as well, and let’s be honest they’re not in the business of moderating politics on their livestreams, they’re trying… Read more »

Batmoose
Guest
Batmoose

Should also acknowledge that in the Collegiate Circuit a U.S. team on a U.S. stream held up a sign saying basically the same sentiment as Blitzchung. The feed was cut but they weren’t reprimanded and were even allowed to continue playing (which they refused).

Raymond
Guest
Raymond

Disgusting move by Blizzard in my opinion..

If they really had to punish this guy, a slap on the wrist would be more appropriate.. Rather than this overkill of a punishment in order to please Great Leader..
But I can’t expect anything else from a company run by that slug Bobby Kotick.

Too many countries and corps are busy bending over for China because they have a big market.. When everyone should refuse to work with them until they stop being authoritarian tyrants.

RblDiver
Guest
RblDiver

Their best solution would have been “The viewpoints expressed are not those of Blizzard nor Activision” etc sort of corporate BS you see everywhere. Sure, it’s not a show of support for the freedom HK is looking for, but it would have been an acceptable middle ground. And if China thinks it doesn’t go far enough, well, that’s why HK is looking to get freedom in the first place, so screw China.

Crestlinger
Guest
Crestlinger

Sure as subscription fees makes what to wear to Blizzcon easy to decide though. First person selling altered flags/shirts of a certain nation and ski masks in a public stand outside the line are going to $core.

Mark
Guest

I’m glad he spoke up, it’s his right to do so. It’s also explicitly stated in his contract he isn’t supposed to do that, and he’s stated he was aware of the potential consequences and chose to do it anyway.

I’m sympathtic to the whole situation, but if my unhappiness at fat cat ceo pay in the auto industry after the insidious behaviours they’ve engaged in and rash of known defect causing recalls led me to stop making my contractually agreed upon car payment I’m not going to cry foul when Ford reposses my car.

Swiftbow
Guest

Reminds me of the NBA crap. It’s funny how people are allowed to badmouth capitalism and freedom all they want, but tyrants and communism/fascism get a pass. Mostly because the commie fascists will actually censor/kill people if they don’t get their way.

I definitively agree with South Park on this… it’s not worth trading your soul for money. And I’m sad to hear Blizzard is doing just that.

I was planning on buying the Warcraft III re-release, but I’m very much inclined to decline now.

Aresk
Guest
Aresk

For what it’s worth, Blizzard lowered the action to a six month suspension, and they awarded the prize earnings to the player.

RblDiver
Guest
RblDiver

Not good enough. Particularly given their official Chinese response, where they said they would defend the sovereignty of China at all cost, at this point I will accept nothing less than immediate return of all three, and the resignation of their president.

Jiala
Guest
Jiala

For reference sake, they’ve walked their ban back to only 6 months, and giving him the prize money now, while issuing a mealy-mouthed explanation. It still reeks of bull excrement, and honestly feels less then sincere. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/12/blizzard-reduces-ban-for-blitzchung-player-who-supported-hong-kong-protests.html

Diarmuid
Guest
Diarmuid

I thought South Park covered it very well. This is supporting a communist regime , in return for cash. But I wonder would so many in the USA be as angry if the protest was about an issue closer to home. The other big story in the news this week was the USA betraying their Kurdish allies in Syria, and leaving them to the Turkish army. There’s a lot more to this story, but let’s leave that aside for now. Lets say a guy in another Blizzard broadcast waves a Kurdish flag. Should he get banned? Would people in the… Read more »

Anshin
Guest
Anshin

Looks like you’ve been featured in the latest Bellular News video on YouTube, covering the Blizzard situation.

About 5:30 into the video
https://youtu.be/2U0_FMDyIo0

Cyrad
Guest
Cyrad

A major part of the China-Blizzard blow up lies with the way AAA companies present themselves as our best friends. Such companies foster communities where they pretend to be activists that help good causes, donate to charity, and have our best interests in mind. But whenever put in a conflict between ethics and business, business *always* wins. The controversy is a natural and well-deserved consequence of a farce they built for themselves.

Gwydion_Wolf
Guest
Gwydion_Wolf

Im more on the side that i agree that Blizzard had to uphold their rules. (a message they released shortly after they ‘amended’ their punishment states the actual rules they went by in their decision) BUT, i do agree that their initial reaction was way to much overkill and knee-jerk for a ‘professional company’ to have done. Especially as a ‘first time offence’. The ‘level’ of their punishment is what makes most people feel as if they were bowing and scraping to the China Government. They have since returned the players prize-money, but he is still banned from official tournaments… Read more »

Ahami22
Guest
Ahami22

I would much prefer the obvious lapdogging. It sends the message that it is because of China’s money that they hold this opinion. It says that Blizzard are aware of the bias and acknowledge it. If they were more circumspect then it would be unclear. But you can bet that anyone with a pulse would draw the conclusion anyway, and then they would get hit with the ‘Hidden Motives’ card. this was a loose/loose for Blizzard, so they went with honesty. As you said it is not /right/ to ban the player, but it is clear that the choice was… Read more »