Blizzard Under Fire For eSports Player Ban
October 11, 2019
eSports has been officially roped into the Hong Kong political controversy currently making waves in the world of traditional sports and the NBA. This following a recent incident leading up to an official ban and forfeiture of winnings by Hong Kong’s Ng Wai Chung. Chung took it upon himself to side publicly with his fellow countrymen by shouting out in support of a political revolution in the country. His only fault appears to have been that he chose to do so during a livestream interview broadcast following a Blizzard eSports Hearthstone tournament.
Blizzard responded by saying that the player’s actions are in direct contravention of its competition policies, and that it would not sit back and look on as those policies are disrupted and disregarded. The US video games firm’s response to Chung’s actions wasn’t at all well-received on social media and players have since the incident posted various videos showing themselves in the process of cancelling subscriptions to various popular Blizzard titles like Overwatch, Starcraft and Warcraft.
What Exactly Did Chung Say?
Chung’s shouting of the controversial slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” is a popular political rebellious action and indicates an uprising against the state. That Blizzard would not be keen to allow this type of behaviour at its events is perfectly understandable. But players, and even some of the company’s own employees, beg to differ.
Those players most unhappy about Chung’s competition participation ban are now calling on a global boycott of all games owned by Blizzard’s parent company, namely Activision Blizzard. If players were to be successful in their latest resolve of bringing Blizzard to its knees, the company stands to lose literally millions in revenue income. It remains to be seen what recourse will be put to the table once the storm dies down. Blizzard has, not surprisingly, been completely mum in terms of a response to the outcries on social media by its global player-base. Saying anything at this stage will without a doubt be saying the completely wrong thing. It remains to be seen whether the video games giant will issue any form of official comment on everything that has unfolded over the course of the past couple of days.
The NBA Can Fully Relate
If any other single entity is able to fully sympathise with Blizzard’s particular brand of a conundrum that it’s the National Basketball League. The Chung-incident came short on the heels of the weekend’s controversy involving the Houston Rockets GM having voiced his support for the Hong Kong protests.
China was quick on the red-alert response button and warned that the Rockets had better “right the wrong” with immediate effect, failing which China would have no other option but to withdraw completely from all NBA competitions outside of its own ranks. The message was conveyed in true dramatic style via the offices of the Chinese Consulate in the United States.
Too Much Controversy
The NBA has since the incident responded to the Consulate’s warning by apologising for the statement made by the GM and said that it recognised that what had been said had severely offended the NBA’s friends and supporters in China.
China is apparently not at all appeased by the variety of apology to have come from the ranks of the NBA and has said that it will not be broadcasting any of this season’s footage in the country.
The recent events have all happened during a time when the Hong Kong protests have progressively gained momentum and its easy to understand why no sports or gaming body wants to be associated with personal opinions on the matter