Blizzard has found themselves at the center of a major controversy, not just in the esports space, but in the public eye as well. Earlier this week, they banned a competitive Hearthstone player named Blitzchung. The ban came following an interview in which the player gave his support to protesters in Hong Kong.
Blizzard banned the player for a year. They also removed him from Hearthstone Grandmasters, and have rescinded his prize money to $0 USD. The move has ignited a firestorm of response aimed at Blizzard. Many people are seeing the move as caving to the whims of China. They’ve taken to social media and twitch to let their opinion be known.
While many have pledged they will no longer support Blizzard in any of its games, the response has taken over all areas of gaming. The League of Legends World Championship had it’s chat overrun with people pledging support of Hong Kong’s independence. Many more lambasted China for their policies, and demanded North American companies support free speech.
It’s no coincidence that this comes at the same time as people are tearing into the NBA for their caving in to China’s demands. Earlier this week, a member of the Houston Rockets organization proclaimed support for Hong Kong. Now, China is threatening to cease all business with the NBA. The whole situation has created an intense discussion around the role China plays in business, and whether it’s worth-while to depend on Chinese money.
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