Game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment decided to take action against one of the e-sports pro players in its card game Hearthstone.
Blizzard Bans Hearthstone Pro Player
Chung Ng Wai, with the nickname Blitzchung, will be removed from the Hearthstone Grandmasters e-sports competition, following his call for Hong Kong’s freedom during a post-match interview.
The US-based game developer will also retract any prize money he would have earned from competing in the tournament.
The incident occurred on Sunday when Blitzchung was being interviewed after a competitive match. At the end of the interview, the pro player pulled down his Hong Kong protester-style mask to yell, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” – after which the stream quickly transitioned to a commercial break.
Blizzard’s Reputation on the Line
The protests in Hong Kong have recently reached a boiling point, as reports from inside the state indicate that oppressive measures are implemented against protesters, as BeInCrypto reported on funds withdrawal limits and potential asset freezing by the government.
Blizzard, with a reputation to maintain, is seemingly worried at the potential consequences – especially since China is a big market for the company. Furthermore, Chinese company Tencent holds 4.9% shares in Activision Blizzard.
The company responded to the incident by banning Blitzchung from competing in Hearthstone tournaments until October 2020. In its official statement, Blizzard invoked a competition rule which states that players aren’t allowed to do anything that brings Blizzard into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard’s image.
Decentralized Products as a Solution
While the player’s remarks can be considered out of place, the incident highlights how centralized products or services will be available to users as long as the self-interest of their respective companies is protected.
With the current tense political situation and the development of decentralized networks, the best outcome of Blitzchung’s suspension was for Immutable. Immutable is the developer of Gods Unchained a card trading game similar to Hearthstone that is built on Ethereum, with every card being represented on the blockchain as a non-fungible token (NFT).
.@Blizzard_Ent just banned @blitzchungHS and stripped his Hearthstone winnings because they care about money more than freedom. We will pay for ALL his lost winnings and a ticket to our $500k tournament: no player should be punished for their beliefs. #freegaming https://t.co/ONvtkG4x9G
— Gods Unchained (@GodsUnchained) October 8, 2019
The developers of Gods Unchained stated that they would cover Blitzchung’s retained winnings and extended an invitation to him for their $500,000 upcoming tournament.
Censorship is a hot topic in today’s society, and as these types of incidents pop up in different industries, the decentralized tech underpinning the new generation of products might gain a much-needed tailwind.
What do you think of Blizzard’s response to the incident? Share your opinion in the comments below!
Image courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock.