Gaming giant Activision Blizzard triggered massive backlash after their removal of Hearthstone professional player Ng Wai Chung, otherwise known as “Blitzchung”. The reasoning behind the termination of both Ng and the broadcaster who interviewed him is the source of the intense ire. Activision Blizzard did not approve of Ng’s support of the ongoing Hong Kong protest against the authoritarian Chinese government attempting to deprive them of human rights. Ng’s statement that resulted in his banning goes as followed: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!”, which is the slogan behind the protests. Activision Blizzard swiftly revoked his winnings and banned him from future Hearthstone events.
The gaming community thus became outraged at the company and prompted a boycott against their products. Gamers online are sharing images of them canceling their subscriptions for World of Warcraft, deleting their digital copies of Overwatch, and erasing their Battle.net accounts. Many are going further by creating a fictional Mei skin, an ethnically Chinese character in Overwatch, that shows her prominently wearing pro-Hong Kong protest attire. Gamers believe this could encourage the Chinese government in banning the popular shooter in the country, which would undoubtedly provide significant harm to Blizzard financially.
This backlash transcends the gaming community, as multiple politicians in the United States have admonished Activision Blizzard for appeasing to a foreign government’s demands while damaging the relationships with its fans and employees. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) have both reprimanded Activision Blizzard. Even Blizzard’s own employees have taken action by staging a walkout in protest of their company’s controversial practices. Many have pointed out that Activision Blizzard is censoring its own workers due to Tencent owning 10% of the company.
If China were to ban all of Activision Blizzard’s products, that would severely put a damper on their profits. However, it is important that a company fosters a healthy relationship with its consumers and especially its employees in order to survive in the long term. Unfortunately, Activision Blizzard cares more about indefinite growth than the people that kept them afloat in the first place.
What do you make of this? Will you participate in the protest, or would you have some limitations, such as only buying Activision’s Crash Bandicoot games and nothing from Blizzard? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for more content from Sick Critic.
News and feature writer for Sick Critic since 2017. Undergraduate studying English. Writes stories on: PlayStation news and analysis, general video game industry affairs, the film industry affairs, and the streaming wars.