Blizzard Controversy

Casey Hansen, News Editor

Blizzard entertainment is one of the biggest video game companies in the world, even rivaling the likes of Nintendo and Sony. But over this past month of october, the fans of Blizzard are in a fit a rage after drastic actions were taken against the HeartStone Champion Ng Wai Chung who goes by the name of Blitzchung. Blitzchung campaigned the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong during a post game stream. Blitzchung said “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,” his statement read. “I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn’t focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me a lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.” 


And Blizzard, the developer and publisher of HearthStone respond quickly and harshly towards Blitzchung and the interviewers after two days. Blizzard state that Blitzchung’s message on the stream violated a section of the Grandmasters’ rules that says players would refrain from “Engaging in any act that brings Blizzard into public disrepute, offend a portion or group of the public, of damages Blizzards image. The public outrage over Blizzard’s reaction swiftly came. It came at a time when international attention on the Hong Kong protests and wariness over China’s response to it has grown. Blizzards punishment was very harsh. Blitzchung didn’t receive his prize money for winning the tournament and was banned from playing Hearthstone competitaly for one year. As well as Blitzchung, Blizzard said they would cease working with both the casters that where present with Blitzchung during the stream.. After days of silence from Blizzard, and the public becoming more and more outraged, The President of Blizzard J. Allen Brack, finally came out and responded to the criticism with a blog posted on Oct.12.


In the post, he announced that the company would be reducing Blitzchung’s punishment and giving him the prize money from the tournament. Brack Defended the cause the company initially cited. ““In the tournament itself Blitzchung *played* fair. We now believe he should receive his prizing,” the post read. “But playing fair also includes appropriate pre-and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. When we think about the suspension, six months for Blitzchung is more appropriate, after which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses.”Additionally, Brack explicitly denied that any speculation that says China was the cause of Blizzards decision is false.

Over a month after Blitzchung’s protest, people are still very upset with Blizzard and there reaction towards him.