It looks like Activision Blizzard is intent on causing controversy with fans in the wake of banning Ng Wai ‘Blitzchung’ Chung recently for his statement supporting protesters in Hong Kong during a live stream.
Having not only banned Blitzchung for 12 months but also taking away his prize winnings, many saw the punishment as far too severe, suggesting that the decision was instead meant to pander to the Chinese market due to the potential revenue the company stood to lose if they were unable to operate in the country.
Also adding to the fire was the fact that American college students who staged their own similar protest utilising signs in another official competition had no punishment or repercussions.
With fan backlash at an all-time high on Reddit and Twitter Blizzard has now spoken up about the decision, with J. Allen Brack the President of Blizzard Entertainment taking to the official site to provide a statement.
The statement does soften the punishments given to both Chung and the two Casters fired, with Blitzchung now receiving a 6 month ban and his winnings and the two presenters now only given a 6 month ban rather than an outright firing, however fans aren’t buying everything said in the post.
Brack goes on to state that the company’s relationship in China had “no influence” on the decision, despite the statement made by the Chinese arm of the company about protecting the “honor” of the country.
The company still believes that they can convince gamers that they value “Every Voice” even though Blitzchung is still facing a ban and other cases are going unpunished.
This has not gone unnoticed by consumers, who have taken to Reddit to argue that the company has shot itself in the foot with the statement, with many users suggesting that the publisher is out for it’s financial interests rather than freedom of speech and the rights of others.
It looks like the company is far from in the clear and will need to do a lot of work to earn back the goodwill of their fans, if they even can at this point.