Blizzard Entertainment is in a difficult spot right now after its actions earlier this week is drawing criticism from gamers and journalists. The famed developer of award-winning franchises such as "StarCraft," "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Hearthstone," and more suspended a professional player earlier this week for his comments. Following this controversial incident, Epic Games is assuring the public that it is not planning on acting against political speech.
Sources point out the statement made by Chung Ng Wai was related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, which landed him a year-long ban from any tournaments. Moreover, his winnings of an estimated $10,000 were reportedly withheld by Blizzard. In contrast, The Verge confirms that the "Fortnite" developer is adopting a more open stance regarding the sensitive topic.
"Epic Supports everyone's right to express their views on politics and human rights," said a representative from the company. "We wouldn't ban or punish a 'Fortnite' player or content creator for speaking on these topics," the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the "Hearthstone" player's suspension was met with disapproval by several Blizzard Entertainment workers. A report claims a group of employees staged a walkout to protest the decision made the company. Additionally, it was revealed that the two Taiwanese casters hosting the interview with Chung were likewise dismissed.
In a related topic, Epic Games was recently the target of lawsuit proclaiming the developer intentionally created "Fortnite" to be addictive. The accusation reportedly comes from two parents in Quebec who described the multiplayer shooter as "addictive as cocaine." Furthermore, it was alleged that the developers were fully aware and intentionally designed it to be that way.
"Fortnite" launched in July 2017 and started out as a cooperative survival-shooter hybrid that supported up to four players. By September of the same year, the free-to-play Battle Royal mode was introduced that allowed up to 100 users fight it out until the last man or team standing. The latter apparently became a big hit among gamers and eventually overtook "PlayerUnknown's Battleground" in popularity.
Speculation surrounding Blizzard's heavy-handed approach hints at its fear of offending Chinese investors. Tencent, one of the biggest gaming businesses in China holds a five per cent stake in the company. Epic Games, on the other hand, does not seem to be worried about a similar backlash.