Global Chat: The Hearthstone Hong Kongstraversy

    
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Everyone has an opinion when it comes to the controversy swirling about Blizzard’s heavy-handed censorship of a Hearthstone professional gamer and his statements on Hong Kong. Heck, even our own Eliot had plenty to say about the “shabby ethics” of the situation. But the conversation hasn’t stopped there.

As cries of #boycottBlizzard lit up Twitter, many MMO bloggers cleared their Wednesday schedule to write their feelings and take on what’s happening and what should be done. We’ve rounded them up for you in this special edition of Global Chat, so grab your popcorn and get to munchin’!

MMO Fallout

“I’d like to leave Blizzard with a thought, like Andy Rooney might. The world will move on, but in three weeks you will be hosting BlizzCon. If you thought your employees shouting ‘Do you not have phones?’ was embarrassing, just wait until people get up to that microphone and start grilling them on the really tough questions.”

I Has PC

“Boycotting Blizzard when every piece of electronics in your house and your life is touched by China in one way or another is, whats the word, a bit hypocritical? So the anger is a bit convenient. People are mad at Blizzard for not standing up to a human rights abuser, while using products and services generated from the same source.”

In An Age

“Don’t get me wrong, I consider China to be one of the most repressive, authoritarian regimes on the planet. But… up to this point, that didn’t seem to matter to anyone. It could be that this was just a particularly egregious example that shocked people into wakefulness, similar to certain phone calls to Ukraine. And that’s fine! Whatever it takes to get people to pay attention to the fact that corporations are not your friend, and that if it were profitable, these men and women board members would have a fiduciary obligation to their shareholders to destabilize the United States and/or any other country.”

Hardcore Casual

“Back to me, do I stop playing a game I’m enjoying just to make a statement, however small that statement is to Blizzard? Yes, as obviously cancelling my sub is the right thing to do.”

Blessing of Kings

“I am deeply disappointed in Blizzard. I don’t expect them to support Hong Kong explicitly, or anything like that. Indeed, maybe they don’t. But freedom of speech — especially in political matters — is the core Enlightenment value, the one from which all the others flow.”

Inventory Full

“Cancelling subscriptions and refusing to play Blizzard games sends a message but unless the commercial fallout is likely to be more damaging than the loss of income from sources under control of the Chinese state authorities, it’s a message that can readily be ignored. Time will inevitably see any such strong reactions fade amongst most Blizzard subscribers to the point where continuing a boycott will seem as quaint as do the cadre of SWG veterans that still won’t buy Sony products.”

JVT Workshop

“Obviously they value money more than morals. Ironic that South Park has more spine than they do. What about you? Do you value your hobbies and gadgets more than your morals? Does it really matter that some far away people are getting oppressed? I’ll leave that up to your own conscience.”

Everwake’s Internet Adventures

“It’s a silly thing. Nothing Blizzard is doing is different from what western companies have been doing for the past three decades. But we care more about this one because Blizzard was special. It created games, worlds, and memories that we could pour ourselves into. Turns out Blizzard wasn’t really worthy of that love. Or at least it became unworthy. Blizzard has always courted and received this expectation that they were special and worthy of our loyalty. A lot of us ended up treating Blizzard as an organization we respected and high hopes and expectations for.”

Deez Wurds

“Over the years I have seen people lose their jobs by making a personal statement about their employer on social media. Free speech does not apply when you have a contract stipulating how they feel you should act as a representative of the company you work for. I read statements that 1/7th of the population in China is protesting. That’s 12%. Is what China is doing right or wrong? It doesn’t matter.”

How about a couple of bonus vlogger videos?

Bellular

“Blizzard’s problems only escalate, as they are protested by their own staff, all while their leadership stays silent on the issue. With Blizzcon 2019 being their most important in years, Blizzard have set themselves up for a massive PR loss.”

TheAngryJoeShow

“Blizzard and Activision are American companies. Yet they are censoring on behalf of the Chinese state. That is exactly what just happened. That is fucking crazy.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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MikeInTheLab

At this point in time how many Apple products have people returned in protest? I’m being sarcastic but also genuinely want to know. It’s probably convenient to be mad at video games and unsubscribe from them. The problem comes when you have to make a hard choice about a product that is part of your LITERAL minute to minute life. How long can somone go without their Apple phone, watch, tv, iPad, notebook, podcast/music store? Is anyone willing to go to Hong Kong and Help with the fight for freedom? Or are we all sending thoughts and prayers? Should we be any angrier at these companies than at ourselves? Believe me I’m no better, waving my fist in the air while waiting for Someone (else) to do something about it.

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Apollo Haner

I was just able to submit a request to delete my account, without being asked for a government id, so they must have “fixed” their system. Used the authenticator option.

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Bryan Correll

People are mad at Blizzard for not standing up to a human rights abuser

No, people are mad that Blizzard chose to actively assist in oppression. This wasn’t just a matter of looking the other way.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“MMO Fallout

If you thought your employees shouting ‘Do you not have phones?’ was embarrassing”

Why do some people have to over-exaggerate everything? The Blizzard employees weren’t “shouting”.

Reader
Bryan Correll

True. There was a lot of shouting at Blizzard employees, but not by them.

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Kickstarter Donor
XK

Between this, the NBA, and Apple, it’s been a hell of a week for companies and China.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I find it odd that Blizzard Watch hasn’t said anything about this, maybe Blizzard owns them perhaps; I always thought that BW was an independent Blog like MOP.

Eliot Lefebvre
Staff
Eliot Lefebvre

That’s what they advertise as, yes.

Mordyjuice
Reader
Mordyjuice

I figured they could cover it like Bellular did, he remained pretty impartial and respectful; I suppose Blizzard could cut ties with BW at that point and set up a fake independent Blizz Blog that was subcontracted by Blizz.

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Utakata

I’m not sure I would go that far. But Blizzard Watch’s silence on this is astounding. It’s almost if they have crawled under a rock…or something, while this was going down. Their predecessor, WoW Insider would of been all over this like they where with the RealID fiasco. So I’m not sure what’s going on here. /bleh

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TherecDaMage .

I mean I guess they could release a statement, but what do ya’ll expect them to do? Say “We boycott the only company we cover on our website because of this issue!”? At least if MOP decided to cut ties with Blizzard properties they would still survive.

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IronSalamander8 .

I need to watch the Angry Joe show on this. I did watch Bellular, his PoV always comes off pretty balanced and fair to me, which is why I like his show(s) and watch them often.

Blizzard has been overrated for a long time, so this behavior doesn’t shock me at all. It doesn’t make it less egregious, just not so surprising. I already had dropped my WoW sub as I’m not really enjoying BfA, and have zero interest in classic, their actions here just made me more satisfied with my decisions here.

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Bryan Correll

I haven’t watched Joe yet, but I have a feeling he says they fucked it up.

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* bag

Blizzard could’ve just let it slide, not partake in any of it by being quiet and doing nothing. But they decided to actively side with China’s goverment. They aren’t neutral or in the grey area anymore. That’s the trouble.

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Bruno Brito

“Boycotting Blizzard when every piece of electronics in your house and your life is touched by China in one way or another is, whats the word, a bit hypocritical? So the anger is a bit convenient. People are mad at Blizzard for not standing up to a human rights abuser, while using products and services generated from the same source.”

While i can see the point here, it’s also missing the main point of the protests.

Reader
Anthony Clark

Blizzard is spinless

Do you want to make a difference? Stop buying Apple products that are made there! See if you can cut off the money going into that horrible place.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

A reminder, Apple just yanked the Quartz news app from the Chinese App store at the request of the Chinese government.