Blizzard reduces ban for Hearthstone player Blitzchung
They've also reinstated prize money for the player, who was banned recently for showing support to Hong Kong protesters.
Recently Blizzard made the decision to ban Hearthstone player Ng 'Blitzchung' Wai Chung for showing support to Hong Kong protesters during a post-match interview, removing all prize money from Season 2, taking him out of Grandmasters, and banning him from competing for 12 months. Now, however, they've released another statement on the matter.
This comes directly from Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, who opens with the following on Blizzard's values:
"At Blizzard, our vision is "to bring the world together through epic entertainment." And we have core values that apply here: Think Globally; Lead Responsibly; and importantly, Every Voice Matters, encouraging everybody to share their point of view. The actions that we took over the weekend are causing people to question if we are still committed to these values. We absolutely are and I will explain."
"Our esports programs are an expression of our vision and our values. Esports exist to create opportunities for players from around the world, from different cultures, and from different backgrounds, to come together to compete and share their passion for gaming. It is extremely important to us to protect these channels and the purpose they serve: to bring the world together through epic entertainment, celebrate our players, and build diverse and inclusive communities."
Brack says that the tournament broadcast was used as a platform for the winner to share political views, and that this was "in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood". He adds that the broadcast "needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome".
He also adds that the views themselves had no bearing on the ban, and emphasises that "our relationships in China had no influence on our decision".
"In hindsight, our process wasn't adequate, and we reacted too quickly," he concedes, adding that Blitzchung will receive his prizing, and the suspension will be reduced to six months too. The ban is still in place because he did not engage in "appropriate pre- and post-match conduct", however.
"Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament rules to ensure our official broadcasts remain focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views," Brack reiterated.
"One of our goals at Blizzard is to make sure that every player, everywhere in the world, regardless of political views, religious beliefs, race, gender, or any other consideration always feels safe and welcome both competing in and playing our games."