As tensions among protesters and the Hong Kong government continue to mount, it is quickly becoming a delicate talking point for a lot of people. Blizzard Entertainment recently banned a professional "Hearthstone" player for reportedly expressing his political views during a post-game interview.
This prompted several of its employees to stage a walkout to protest the decision of their employer. It is speculated that the action taken against Chung Ng Wai was motivated by the company's ties with a Chinese stakeholder and gaming outfit. According to Daily Beast, Chung, who is known as Blitzchung in players in the casual and professional "Hearthstone" circuit said: "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution on our times."
Blizzard Entertainment prohibits him from competing in sanctioned tournaments for a year. Likewise, this means the $10,000 prize money he just won is forfeited due to the ruling. Furthermore, the developer allegedly cut ties with the two Taiwanese casters who were hosting the interview.
The developer's employees who were against the move gathered outside the Blizzard Entertainment campus in Irvine, California. Analysts were quick to point out similar actions when players voiced their support for the Hong Kong protesters. The group's numbers supposedly grew up to 30 but eventually, all the members left as the day proceeded.
One of the employees who joined the walkout said: "Blizzard makes a lot of money in China, but now the company is in an awkward position where we can't abide by our values." Meanwhile, another staff member said, "we want people all over the world to play our games, but no action like this can be made with political neutrality."
Big companies that are doing business in China are reportedly cautious of any publicity that would damage its reputation with the Chinese government. Economists, on the other hand, point out the lucrative option of doing business in China. Hence, the sensitive nature of the ongoing protests is apparently prompting these entities to do damage control immediately.
In other news, Epic Games is assuring its fans that it has no plans to ban content creators or professional players for political expressions. The Verge notes that this comes shortly after Blizzard Entertainment was criticised for banning Chung after his statement.