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’!
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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?
“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.”
“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.”