On October 8th, Video game developer Blizzard banned virtual card game Hearthstone player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung for voicing support for Hong Kong protesters during a competition live stream. Since then, Blizzard has banned three college students and temporarily suspended multiple people in a Twitch chat for also expressing support for the protests.
In the story stream below, follow the developments after Blizzard joined a list of companies coming under fire from users, activists, and lawmakers for moderating support for the protests. Some critics see the move as acquiescing to the Chinese government, and both Apple and the NBA have faced similar allegations.
These incidents have sparked outcries about the restriction of free speech and expression, and raised the all-too-familiar debate surrounding whether politics should be kept out of gaming, sports, or anything else. There’s speculation that US-based companies are trying to appease China through this kind of moderation, and it’s seemingly motivated by profit.
Amid controversy, one team fights to prove they belong
Blizzard’s president apologized directly to fans
Blizzard lost the trust of its fans, and some money too
The movement has been orchestrated by the web-focused nonprofit Fight for the Future
According to Blizzard, that’s because of automated moderation
Lawmakers also criticized Blizzard
‘Is that the internet that we want?’
The latest entry in protests against Blizzard
It claims the ban has nothing to do with China
Epic Games is cool with political speech though
The latest Hong Kong-related app to be removed
Quartz says its website has also been banned in mainland China
It was a small, but highly visible group
Relations with Beijing are not the best this week
‘Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party,’ Sen. Ron Wyden said
‘Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!’
But there are still ways to use it