After inducing an international political outcry, video game huge Activision Blizzard has lessened the suspension of a Hong Kong-based pro performer of the Blizzard game Hearthstone to six months and will get back his prize money.
The same six-month hiatus goes to the two casters whom Blizzard originally fired after they squatted their faces out of the camera’s impression as Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung conveyed support for the uprisings in Hong Kong.
“The specific impressions expressed by blitzchung were not a character in the decision we earned. I want to be apt: Our relationships in China had no impact on our decision,” said Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack in a Friday eve statement.
“If this had been the opposing viewpoint transmitted in the same divisive and conscious way, we would have felt and behaved the same.”
Blizzard’s actions provoked a furor, even within Congress, for seeming to bend a knee to China. Tencent, a Chinese entertainment conglomerate, acquires a 5 percent stake in Activision Blizzard, and China is a sought-after demand in the entertainment world, especially in gaming.
Brack told blitzchung “played fair,” and that the firm now believes he should get his prize money of $3,000. He was originally banned from vying for one year.
All this arrives weeks before a planned uprising at the company’s popular annual meeting of fans BlizzCon. Fight for destiny, an online freedom activism organization called for an umbrella uprising of companies that cater to China’s attention.
And online chatter of Blizzard’s community through various social media outlets showed they fully intended to contribute. It will take some time to discern whether Blizzard’s statement would suppress the furor.
Prominent YouTube business critic Jim Sterling remained distrustful. The Hong Kong uprisings have been a common rallying degree for social activists in current months.
A proposal by Hong Kong to enable extraditions to China spurred the movement, as it was discerned by some as an endeavor by Beijing to pick instead of the autonomy and liberties pledged when the former British colony repaid to Chinese control in 1997.