Activision Blizzard Inc. has to deal with a strong backlash after the American video-game company punished a player for supporting Hong Kong’s protestors. Ng Wai Chung was banned from Grandmasters esports competition for a year for using a slogan from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. All this Blizzard story began when Ng Wai Chung dressed in a gas mask and protester-style goggles used the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” during the livestream of after-game interview. Blizzard, the developer of games such as Overwatch and Hearthstone, stated that the special actions have been taken to prevent such precedents in the future. Obviously, the suspended player’s behavior was viewed as the actions against the country’s dignity.
In South Korea, this topic has become a top-notch subject on Twitter with people claiming that Blizzard prioritizes money over human rights, which is equally silly and disappointing. As a result, an influential former Blizzard employee in the USA, Mark Kern, blamed the company for unethical politics.
Players and fans around the world gave their immediate response to heavy-handed punishment and suppressing Chinese censorship. Players of popular Activision Blizzard games have started showing their anger against the company on the Internet, encouraging a boycott of the company via social media. This topic has taken over Twitter and Reddit with fast-spreading #blizzardboycott hashtag. The #BoycottBlizzard hashtag is currently posting a new tweet every several minutes on Twitter. Many users state that people have the right to say whatever they want. There is nothing bad about expressing your support to the nation. But that is how it works in the democratic world where China doesn’t belong to.
Blizzard’s actions come at a time of growing scrutiny on companies which have business interests in China. The NBA expressed their apologies after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted pro-Hong Kong sentiments in Tweeter that had to be deleted later on. In fact, the only thing the NBA should feel sorry about is their focus on financial profits over human rights. The expansion interests in China are resulting in the company’s poor decisions. Blizzard leads the corporate politics of an authoritarian state, operating as an international agent of its repressive apparatus in opposition to basic human rights. Blizzard demonstrates its willingness to humiliate itself to get along with the Chinese Communist Party.
No wonder, some users expressed their desire to delete Blizzard games from their library and cancel subscriptions to World of Warcraft and other games from the provider’s collection. Weighing up those intentions of fandom and civil responsibility has appeared to be different for the demonstrators outside the convention center. Some of them canceled their game subscriptions and cancel their access to battle.net, despite their devotion to this franchise. Freedom of speech and thinking are the basic human rights so that it can be horrible to think that an American company would take everything from you just because your political views are different. The action needs to be taken straight away till more and more people are not deprived of their basic human rights.