A little over a week after Blizzard caused an uproar banning a professional Hearthstone player for his political speech, stocks are reportedly affected. The Activision-owned game studio is seeing its sales numbers drop and users deleting their accounts in protest.
Even though the company had every right to impose a penalty on Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for his inappropriate behaviour, the public views it otherwise. Sources claim the year-long ban on top of the prize money being withheld was motivated by Chinese interests. This was apparently due to the statement pertaining to the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong.
Perhaps the pressure from its fans, employees and journalists eventually caught the attention of the management. A few days ago, the company announced its decision to adjust the suspension from one year to six months. This apparently applies to Chung and the two Taiwanese casters who hosted his post-tournament interview. Moreover, his winnings were supposedly restored, with J. Allen Brack, Blizzard president, issuing a statement last week: "Our relationships in China had no influence on our decision."
However, support for the developer is at an all-time low with calls to boycott all its services and products in the near future. In fact, there are people planning to group up and protest during the 2019 BlizzCon, which is the biggest annual event of all things related to Blizzard. Analysts reveal the company's stock went down by 1.7 per cent from last week. Likewise, if consumers continue to shun its offerings, the market could see it go down even further, as implied by Barron's.
Despite the adjustments made to the penalties imposed on Blitzchung and the other two people involved, the public is intent on withdrawing its support. Shortly after the changes were verified, he, expressed doubt whether he plans to return and compete in the "Hearthstone" circuit. Nevertheless, Chung seems grateful for game studio overturning its original sanction.
Meanwhile, in a related topic, Blizzard was once again criticised after a report highlighted an unexpected development. In a last-minute announcement, the game studio confirmed physical copies of "Overwatch" on the Nintendo Switch will ship sans the game cartridge. Instead, the case will contain a download code for a digital version of the online team-based FPS. Others already suspect its stocks will take another dip because of the untimely turn of events.