BlizzCon protesters remain unmoved by Blizzard apology as industry groups propose unified esports principles

    
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If anyone was curious, no, many of the folks who protested BlizzCon live and in the flesh were not swayed by Blizzard President J. Allen Brack’s live apology. According to a report from VG247, there are many who still feel that Blizzard’s words were hollow.

While those from the group of protesters seemed to be heartened that the overall digital and physical outcry forced Blizzard’s hand, many are still angry at the company for continuing to stand behind its new punishments for Blitzchung and the Taiwanese casters in an attempt to mollify both American players and Chinese corporate interests.

“I don’t feel like it’s ‘I’m sorry we messed up’, it’s ‘oh crap, people are upset that we’re greedy and now we have to backpedal’. They’re doing the best they can to mitigate the damage,” explained one protester.

“You could say they apologised, but I would debate the legitimacy of that apology,” said another. “I think if we had remained silent, Blitzchung would still be banned, you’d still see them actively allowing the free market to be manipulated by governments.”

It’s that continued pressure to ensure people don’t talk out of turn for fear of upsetting China that helps Brack’s apology fall upon deaf ears, particularly in light of moves like the Overwatch coach forced to delete a tweet that spoke in favor of Hong Kong, the banning of a US Hearthstone collegiate team well after they quit in disgust, and the decision to cut off Hearthstone cameras and post-match interviews.

Dayton Young, director of the organization Fight for the Future that helped to coordinate the BlizzCon protest, echoes many of these feelings, particularly after reading Brack’s post-apology interview.

“Blizzard has shown no hesitation to ban, fine, and censor members of the gaming community in Hong Kong, America, and Canada for what Blizzard deems to be ‘political’ speech. Blizzard President J. Allen Brack wants us all to believe that the global games developer with $7.5 billion in annual revenue is somehow powerless to stop its corporate partner NetEase from making an extremely political statement pledging to ‘defend the pride’ of China.

“J. Allen Brack is a liar and a bully.”

Meanwhile, members of several industry associations including the ESA and UKIE have drafted a set of unified esports “principles” that stresses safety and well-being, fair play, and diversity and respect. The principles appear to be a means to create more global rules for managing esports events, particularly as it relates to game companies that run esports tournaments according to a statement made alongside the announcement:

“Our esports community includes the game publishers and intellectual property owners whose games are at the core of the esports ecosystem as well as the players, teams, and tournament organizers who bring this vibrant community to life.”

For more on this continuing matter, make sure to look through our complete coverage.

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Arktouros

All of these teams, competitors, and individuals involved are 100% free to protest whatever issue they want and they won’t get banned at all. You want to sing from the mountain tops and megaphone blast freedom for Hong Kong you’re 100% free to do so. Blizzard won’t take action on you. Blizzard won’t ban you for supporting your cause.

However if you go onto Blizzard’s event platform and use it inappropriately to discuss unrelated topics you’re probably going to face some consequences for acting inappropriately. If that wasn’t spelled out super clear in the rules before I have little doubt it will be crystal clear after. You can already see other companies like Riot getting ahead of that with their competitive scene as well.

If you think there’s going to be guidelines they agree to that enables you to use their platform/events act like a podium for any cause then you’re just delusional. As we see with Blizzard they would rather shut the whole thing down than enable something like that. No company wants that.

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Bruno Brito

You can even make a mock KKK execution in their games and nothing will happen!

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Anthony Clark

Half-assed apology from a dumbass.

Tai_Kells
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Tai_Kells

I have a passion for playing video games and Blizzard has a passion for making lots of money. Sometimes a relationship becomes so broken you have to go separate ways.

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Robert Mann

The only way they could maintain course, is if they applied the same aspects to the things that come from the China side. That, however, would put them at odds with China.

Since they want that money, they refuse to follow the same rules with regard to China.

They sold out on the agreement: “Whale cash if you only acknowledge the Emperor as the ruler of all Earth, and accept that he must be touted and kept coddled from hateful words.” They are far from alone, but the more that we all acknowledge that and take action, the better we are in terms of the future and China’s continued attempts to otherwise conquer through various means (economics, bullying tactics, and threats over anything they dislike).

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Bruno Brito

I don’t get it really. They WANT that money, but they really don’t get it. Blizzard’s main revenue base is HERE. It’s US. Not them. They’re potential. They’re potential that they failed, for years, to achieve. China doesn’t want Blizzard. Not as much as they want anything else. Blizzard is not special to them.

They choose to forego them being the harbinger of wondrous dreams for the western geeks in the name of what, a good relationship with China that can go sour at any moment because the Chinese don’t give any actual shit about them?

Never bought the “good guy Blizz” act, but i always thought they were at least smart. Now i know they’re not that smart.

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Bruno Brito

Who would have guessed that the guy who coined “You think you do” has issues with learning lessons and gives terrible interviews.

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Feyd Darkholme

I really want to forgive Blizzard, but I don’t believe them or their “apologies” for a second. Do I think there are people working at Blizzard who are truly sorry and really hate this BS? Absolutely. However the people in charge *love* that commie money too much. I really want to forgive and forget because I was having a ton of fun in WoW Classic and D4 looks great, but unlike most people that seem to be waffling, I need have to have the courage of my convictions…

Godnaz
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Godnaz

Looking forward to seeing how this plays out. If they made a game I enjoyed, I’d be concerned.

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Kurt Shadle

I haven’t played a Blizz game in ages and I’m still concered about this. If Blizz doesn’t take a financial hit for this other companies may follow suit publicly as there were no real consequences for Blizz finicially (which is all that sadly matters).

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styopa

Short of Blizzard taking to the streets enmasse and physically attacking police barricades in Hong Kong, protesters would have found any reply wanting.

And even then, someone would complain they didn’t do enough.

PS – not super fond of the fact that I now apparently have to turn off ublock to get the post comment button.

EDIT: cf @Fred Douglas below.

Sixuality
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Sixuality

This is going to hang over Blizzard for a long time, but it’s an opportunity for the rest of the esports industry. For years they’ve wanted to be taken as seriously as ‘real’ sports and now they have been.

This will not be the last time they’re going to have to deal with something like this, so they have to decide if they are willing to engage with the real world in all its complexities, or will they retreat back into their niche and hide.

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Bruno Brito

This is actually a pretty interesting way of looking at it.

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Fred Douglas

I won’t be satisfied until Blizzard sacrifices a few CEOs or whatever and places their still beating hearts on a stone dais at the center of next year’s blizzcon main stage.