J. Allen Brack says the Blitzchung incident ‘exposed some immaturity’ in Blizzard

    
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Oh my.

It’s a bit long in the tooth now with BlizzCon well behind us, but the Esports Observer published an interview with Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack this week, and yes it touches on that “tough Hearthstone esports moment” that dominated headlines this fall. But it also covers Brack’s first term at the top of Blizzard, which he characterizes as a “really hard year.”

Notably, he argues that decisions to drastically cut esports staff and tournaments, including the deep slashes to Heroes of the Storm, were necessary because the studio needs to “keep an eye on the core priorities.” Apparently, those core priorities still include a slow-paced release cycle for its new titles, regardless of the market.

“I think the thing that Blizzard has been built on is this idea of not only ‘it’s ready when it’s ready,’ but behind that is the thought that it doesn’t matter if a game is late, it only matters if it’s great. […] I think we’ve seen games that have come out in the last five years that were not great and had large communities or had large followings, and it’s been difficult for those games to recover. You only get one launch and so you’ve got to make it right.”

As for the Blitzchung incident, Brack has seemingly given voice to yet another new argument: that the bans for everyone involved must stay in place because players are “contractually obligated not to use official broadcasts as a place to talk about politics of any kind” (Esports Observer’s wording). Prior to this interview, Blizzard has maintained that the players’ actions were instead a violation of the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters official competition rules, which do not mention politics or political conduct on official streams at all.

While Esports Observer characterizes Blizzard’s position on allowing players to speak out on their own personal streams as “liberal,” it doesn’t seem that the interview addresses the Overwatch coach whose tweets condemning Blizzard’s actions were subsequently removed when said coach was “directed” to remove them.

Brack does conclude the interview by admitting that the whole incident and the way the studio handled it “exposed some immaturity” in the ranks. “No one [at Blizzard] had any idea that this was going to blow up to be the international incident that it has become,” he says.

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rafael12104

JAB must have a side job writing meme content.

So, presumably, executive management is responsible and most notably JAB. Do we take away their cell phones and send them to their room? They do have phones, don’t they? (the meme that keeps on giving).

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Utakata

I read JAB as J. Allen Blockhead for some reason. O.o

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zuldar

You only get one launch and so you’ve got to make it right.

It’s not too late to make things right. Offer a real apology, overturn the ban for Blitzchung, reinstate the casters you fired with backpay, and make a public statement that you will under no circumstances silence legitimate free speech at the behest of any government body.

Do this and you’ll make things right.

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Armsman

Brack does conclude the interview by admitting that the whole incident and the way the studio handled it “exposed some immaturity” “exposed Blizzard Upper Management stupidity”in the ranks. “No one [at Blizzard] had any idea that this was going to blow up to be the international incident that it has become,” he says.

^^^
Fixed that for him…

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Utakata

…and the finger pointing makes it much more pathetic. /sigh

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Blitzchung (and the two casters) should have just been given a warning.

In contrast, look at the Blizzard China/Netease statement about protecting the honor of China, or however they phrased it.

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John Kiser

To be fair here if there was a warning it would of probably been made public without a signed NDA and blizzard would likely be facing the same PR problems

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Bruno Brito

Brack does conclude the interview by admitting that the whole incident and the way the studio handled it “exposed some immaturity” in the ranks. “No one [at Blizzard] had any idea that this was going to blow up to be the international incident that it has become,” he says.

Brack: “Well, i thought i did, but i didn’t.”

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Excellent meme.

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Bruno Brito

I aim to please.

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Paragon Lost

“No one [at Blizzard] had any idea that this was going to blow up to be the international incident that it has become,” he says.” -J Allen Brack

((blink…blink)) Really? Do you seriously really believe that mister Brack? If you do, then you and other decision makers at Blizzard need to be removed. Whatever your opinion on the events going on in Hong Kong, not thinking that the inconsistent, badly handled incident would blow up just shows a total lack of understanding on what’s going on in the world. I mean seriously talk about being clueless. Ouch.

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Arktouros

I dunno if not wanting people to use their eSports broadcasts as platforms for political issues is exactly a “new” argument even if they are citing a new source for said information. The people who fund and created an eSports tournament wants it’s discussion to be on the eSports tournament. Wow. So mind blowing. So crazy. So exactly what people have been saying for weeks now.

Removing the bans it lets people know if they get a big enough backlash for a topic people can get away with doing anything. It’s a bad precedent to set. Blitz knew there would probably be consequences in his own words. Everyone knows that. If I came here and made some super political leaning post I would expect it to equally be censored. Not because it’s against the rules, but because that’s just common sense.

Still on track for my original prediction of by December it’ll be nothing left but some people giving the same level of snark and cynicism we throw at Electronic Arts but the masses will have moved on and not really care.

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Kurt Shadle

From all that I’ve read so far, it doesn’t appear there was any rule against statements like that. And no, I’m not going to count Blizz’s “I am God” clause that states they can do whatever they want for any reason they want. That’s so vague it doesn’t give players any actual guideline to follow.

A smarter move would have been to issue a warning stating to all that this is not something to do on stream. Then, actually shore up the rules to include the situation.

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Arktouros

If you read just about any rules ever it includes the clause that they can ban/remove you for just about any reason what so ever.

Do you know why we have those generic catch all rules? We have these rules because people use the rationalization that because there isn’t a rule specifically saying not to do something then it’s perfectly acceptable to do said thing. Which is insane. It’s that kind of thinking which is why we have signs that say “Do not poop in the urinals” because I’m sure someone out there thought, “Well there’s no rules saying don’t do this…”

Keeping up Blitz’s ban shows the company is serious about the matter and will discourage people in the future from testing the boundaries of what isn’t specifically spelled out in the rules. If it wasn’t explicitly clear before it’s going to be super crystal clear going forward for Blizzard and any other eSports company out there (look at Riot getting ahead of it on their own).

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

“Do not poop in the urinals”

If you think a sign like that would stop someone intent on doing that (Or any other ‘offense’)…regardless of ‘rules’ or otherwise…I don’t think you understand humanity that well… :P

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Arktouros

If you think a sign like that would stop someone intent on doing that (Or any other ‘offense’)…regardless of ‘rules’ or otherwise…I don’t think you understand humanity that well…

I do think I have a reasonable grasp on humanity and it’s why I understand the need to keep someone like Blitz’s punishment in place. Doing so sends the message that if you misuse the platforms they have created there will be harsh, unyielding penalties associated with that action.

This is unlikely the last we’ve seen of people misusing these platforms for their own causes. There’s always someone who either pushes the boundaries for a cause they believe in or just because they thought it would be funny. You see this all the time in other fields and equally you see the outcry that they should be forgiven and punishment rolled back.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

harsh, unyielding penalties

You think that’s ‘harsh’ or ‘unyielding’ or shows they are ‘in the right’?

You know who else thought they were ‘in the right’? The people who put up ‘Whites Only’ signs. They also tended to lynch black people for it.

I for one am glad a woman stood up to the person/sign telling her to get to the back of the bus. Because @$*# THAT CULTURE that thought that was OK.

Same with attempting to deny other people their freedoms. People saying ‘You can’t’ to everything nowadays seem to forget that YOU CAN, whether you’re punished for it or not.

If you watch things like the death penalty, you also know that punishment for crimes doesn’t deter those same things from continuing to happen. If you think this will stop someone, you’re just dead wrong.

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rafael12104

But, that’s not much of a prediction really. The speed of the internet works in two ways. One, news, hype, and debacles come quickly. But they quickly fade, yet are not forgotten.

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Arktouros

I mean I’m sure there’s people out there who’s still angry that Diablo 3 was an always online game. I’m sure there’s some dude left who is angry Modern Warfare 2 didn’t have hosted servers. I’m sure 5 years from now there’s going to be at least someone who’s still mad the time Blizzard banned that Hearthstone streamer for making a political statement on an eSports interview.

However as you say this is the internet and you can throw a rock and find a group of people who are angry at something. However once anger loses it’s momentum and mass any change to come from it seems incredibly unlikely.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

I would like to expose my immaturity as well….

disaster boy.jpg
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rafael12104

ewww. Nice photoshop. The face fits perfectly. Heh.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

The happiest of little accidents:)
A bit ashy in the complexion but I’ll attribute that to the soot in the air.

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mysecretid

Schlag! I thought the aliens abducted you (again?) or something. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you post, my friend. I hope you are well!

Thanks for the humor, as ever. We laugh to keep from screaming these days, it seems. :-)

Cheers, my man!

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Schlag Sweetleaf

good to see you as well, Mysecretid, Always nice to see you on the boards:)

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

The irony is that all the ‘control’ corporations are exerting, is actually what will eventually be the downfall of them, as humans hate to be controlled.

As another poster below commented on…’people have more pressing issues in their lives like bills and lack of money to pay said bills’…because behemoth companies (See : Monopoly) have taken all that money away from the populace and refuse to return any of it, then use the excuse that ‘People working for the company deserve paid too!’ but they aren’t paying them. It’s all going to one person (CEO) and so a bunch of people who did a ton of work aren’t being properly paid for their work, and that corporation is just absorbing all the money and laughing at you as they don’t re-invest it and instead keep thinking up new ideas/ways to trick you into giving them even more money.

It’s actually kind of a really sad state of affairs.

PS : They are fine with silencing one side of things, but are quite content with propping up the other side, showing which they are actually for…

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Blizz: Hey sorry I took your ball, but my friend China doesn’t want you to like freedom.

Blitz: Thanks for the apology. Can I get reinstated since your apology means you were wrong and you want to atone for the mistake?

Blizz: No. LOL. You thought our actions would match our words? Those morons will still buy Diablo 4 without us being sorry. They’re idiots, and China business means WAY too much to our bank accounts for us to stand up for freedom and democracy.