Last week, Blizzard chose to suspend Hearthstone competitive player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai over his statement for Hong Kong following a tournament, along with two shoutcasters. As a result, their community became enraged, with employees and gamers alike believing that Blizzard was going against their own “Every Voice Matters” mantra.
Today, president of Blizzard Entertainment J. Allen Brack finally responded in a lengthy blog post. In it, he did reduce the suspension for Blitzchung but didn’t back down from the ideals the company had behind the ban.
He explained how the player’s statement clashed with the company’s beliefs in three different sections.
“Over the weekend, Blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong – in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action,” he said.
“Every Voice Matters, and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game.
When it came to Thinking Globally, Leading Responsibly, and Every Voice Matters, Brack explained, “The specific views expressed by Blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.
“We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and on the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took.”
He also noted that Blitzchung and the two shoutcasters’ suspension will now only be six months, and the players will get his prizing as earned.
Brack concluded, “One of our goals at Blizzard is to make sure that every player, everywhere in the world, regardless of political views, religious beliefs, race, gender, or any other consideration always feels safe and welcome both competing in and playing our games.
“At Blizzard, we are always listening and finding ways to improve – it is part of our culture. Thank you for your patience with us as we continue to learn.”
The question is if they’re listening. Thus far, social media response seems to believe this isn’t the case. That should make BlizzCon 2019 quite an exciting stage when it takes place in Anaheim next month.