Were you thinking Blizzard was going to just coast into BlizzCon as if its “international incident” hadn’t gripped the whole damn industry for a few weeks earlier this month? Maybe hold that thought, as The Daily Beast reports tonight that at least one company has broken fianancial ties with Blizzard: Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan canceled its sponsorships of Blizzard’s esports events.
According to the publication, Mitsubishi spokesperson Erica Rasch confirmed that the company had halted the partnership two days after the Blizzard’s choice to publicly punish professional Hearthstone esports player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung of Hong Kong as well as two Taiwanese commentators for a pro-Hong Kong protest during a post-match interview on stream.
The Daily Beast had been tipped off by Redditors who spotted the missing Mitsubishi logo weeks ago, but this is the first confirmation we’ve had that it was intentional and seemingly linked to Blizzard’s decision. The Hearthstone event at which the incident took place, we’ll note, was held in Taipei City, Taiwan.
The whole mess made it to mainstream media and US politicians as angry gamers began a boycott over the perception that Blizzard was censoring gamers at the behest of the Chinese government – a perception Blizzard’s follow-up statements did little to amend. The company has canceled or postponed several events in the weeks following its decision, but BlizzCon is still set to go on this weekend, as are anti-Blizzard protests.
We’ve covered the Blizzard Hong Kong fiasco extensively since it blew up on October 8th; you can get caught up on all of our coverage right here.