Blizzard picked a side, I’ve picked mine

Blizzard recently banning a Hearthstone player due to a statement they made about Hong Kong has now put me in a personal quandary. On the one hand I’m really enjoying WoW Classic and want to keep playing. On the other hand giving money to Blizzard is pretty directly telling them its ok to side with a dictatorship, and that money is a higher priority than free speech. I can even understand why Blizzard did it; they are ok with losing some customers outside of China over losing potentially all their customers in China. It is, at the end of the day, a purely financial decision, as I doubt anyone high up at Blizzard is especially pro-dictatorship (you’d hope?)

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. And there is even some wiggle room here as I have a 6 month sub, so I could cancel now and keep playing, and by the end of the sub period maybe Blizzard has changed course (not likely) or maybe I’m done/bored with Classic (also not looking likely), or at that time I make the minor sacrifice of not playing Classic. Stinks if it comes to that, but in some ways it really is a reflection of the times we live in, and the stakes behind the decisions we make. Plus compared to those in Hong Kong who are protesting, its not exactly a large sacrifice on my end.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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30 Responses to Blizzard picked a side, I’ve picked mine

  1. Marathal says:

    I look at it like this. He broke their code of conduct rule. If they had let it go without any repercussions then the rule has no consequence. The next player that says something can point and demand they not be punished because of this instance. He knew the risk and that their would be repercussions for saying what he did.

    • SynCaine says:

      While this is true, the fact that Blizzard even has such a policy is the issue, as well as the punishment that was handed out not just to this player, but the hosts as well.

      Also such rules are pretty vague and under the complete control of Blizzard. Blizzard very easily could have said such a statement DIDN’T violate the policy, just like technically wearing a rainbow shirt would be a statement, but you aren’t likely to see Blizzard ban someone for support LGBTQ.

      • Marathal says:

        I’m sure just about any sports centric company has a similar policy. Part of having dealings as a business worldwide is that you have to adhere to the laws and cultural choices of the country you are operating in. Our values here do not reflect in every nation in the world. If Blizzard was a wholly owned Chinese corporation the actions and statements made by US players would probably see many of them banned. It’s a tough call to make and it had to be made quickly. There was no right choice, only the one legally they could defend.

        • SynCaine says:

          Its a reflection of the larger problem; if you must conform to China to do business in China, either you sacrifices your morals for money, or you don’t. Blizzard made their choice, much like the NBA has made, and fans are now able to make a responding choice.

          In a just world doing the right thing would also be the easy thing. In this world, only when the right thing is ALSO the thing that costs a company money does a change happen. Sucks, but those are the rules we have in place today.

        • Marathal says:

          I did read an interesting point from someone familiar with the responses of the Chinese government, if no action was taken they conceivably could have punished everyone on the team, could have pushed all Blizzard employees working there out of the country and out of a job.

          How thing works here don’t always transfer to other countries. Especially when governments are involved.

  2. Tracey Snow says:

    Not much of a “statement” if you’re going to keep playing until the end of your sub. If you feel strongly about it, do something to show it. Waiting until your sub runs out sends a terrible message.

    • SynCaine says:

      It’s a wallet vote, about the strongest thing you can do to a company. The other step is to decrease promotion of the game here on the blog, which is also going to happen.

      • tws029 says:

        Maybe it is, but will a wallet vote in ‘X’ months be connected to Blizzard’s decision this week? You can make the argument that they already have your money but playing until the end of your sub feels disingenuous to me.

        I understand wallet votes. I have been boycotting all Sony products since the SWG NGE fiasco but I immediately stopped playing, told them as much and sent a letter to Sony Corp. explaining what I was doing and why (in my case, it was what I perceived as a blatant disregard for their customers (hardly as important as this case).

        If this is such a show-stopper for you, it would seem that you would want to immediately sever any and all ties with the company and make sure they know why. YMMV.

  3. Blizzard dropped the ball for sure SynCaine. Have to agree with ya

  4. Polynices says:

    I hate actually subscribing so I just buy 3 or 6 months of game time every time it runs out. So I can’t really cancel anything or stop paying them since I’m already not doing that.

    The Hearthstone Reddit is almost completely full of people yelling at Blizzard and saying they are quitting the game. Many say they’re deleting their accounts. Blizzard has backed down in the past when SJWs got pissed off at a sexy pose for Tracer. Kinda doubt they have enough courage to reverse on this one. But we’ll see.

  5. Due to my own foibles, I am paid up for WoW until June 2020. So I have quite a ways before I have to decide on whether or not they get any more money. But I think what they do in the next 48 hours will tell the tale. They need to roll this back at least to the point of not punishing the player. Even Blizz employees seems to be riled about this, and Blizz hates to be the bad guy. Morhaime would have found a way out. We’ll see if J. Allen Brack has anything like his touch.

    Roll the “Are we the baddies?” clip

  6. Sean says:

    Respect.

    There aren’t many other choices one can make; choosing to forgo one’s hobby is more penalty to oneself than to the corporation – so again, respect.

  7. Grotom says:

    I did the same. I’m sure my sub doesn’t mean much but maybe thousands will (probably not).

  8. Pingback: …And Then Blizzard Lost It | In An Age

  9. Pendan says:

    I have not seen a video but I did see a still shot of the announcers ducking under their desks. This told me they were scared and felt threatened by the actions of this individual. So if I were running a company I would definitely ban someone for threatening my employees no matter how much I supported the cause they were advocating. Without the full story I am not going to crucify Blizzard.

    • SynCaine says:

      Because they known how oppressive China is. Blizzard siding with said oppression doesn’t make them more right, it just goes further to show how far on the wrong side of this they are.

    • Wulfus says:

      It’s pretty easy to find the full story by doing some light Googling, I encourage you to educate yourself so you can make the appropriate decision.

  10. Jenks says:

    If we were at war with China I would be all for this but we’re not. China sucks but it doesn’t suck so bad that our houses aren’t filled to the brim with things made in China. If there is a real effort to boycott CHINA, as in boycotting everything from China, I’ll be there. Protesting one video game company that is complying with the Chinese government while we consume other Chinese products non-stop reeks of virtue signaling to me and that just isn’t my scene.

    • SynCaine says:

      Small steps are better than no steps. And situations rarely if ever go from ‘do nothing’ to ‘completely change everything’ overnight. Hell even the people in Hong Kong are still going to work/school and then protesting. Are they ‘virtue signaling’ because they haven’t completely altered every part of their lives to push back against a dictatorship?

      • Jenks says:

        I guess the issue for me is I don’t understand how boycotting Blizzard pushes back against them in any way. It’s just pushing back against people trying to sell entertainment products in their country because they don’t have the same ideals as you. The scenario where CCP is losing a wink of sleep over Syncaine not playing an American MMORPG anymore is not materializing in my head.

        I will say that I do find it fantastic that Blizzard is on the receiving end of this since they’ve flown the virtue signaling flag high for a while now. Their Blizzcon where they addressed gamergate made me want to vomit, and now everyone on all sides of these issues knows how disingenuous they were.

        • SynCaine says:

          This is how it could play out that hurts CCP: Blizzard loses money because of this, enough so that they have to backtrack and regain some of the non-china market. China isn’t happy, but either they ban Blizzard in China, and hurt not only Bliz/Tencent but themselves (bad PR, angry Chinese gamers), or China gives in/ignores this and allows things like this event to happen without swift and overwhelming punishment.

          Either way some progress is made with an oppressive regime, just like the protest in Hong Kong had put a hold on the extradition law, and are still pushing for more.

  11. Pendan says:

    Syn you did not respond to what I wrote. It does not matter how oppressive China is. It matters what the person did in the interview. He could be protesting baby eating cannibals and have 99% of the world supporting his cause but if he does the protesting at my event in a violent way i am going to ban him. I am not banning them because I like baby eating cannibals, I am banning them for the protection of my employees.

    • SynCaine says:

      There was no violence here, did you watch the video?

      And the rules allow Blizzard to ban anyone for anything, so ‘Blizzard is just following the rules they created’ isn’t much of an argument here. Yes, technically they have that right. The fact that they did it here for this, and how it was all handled, is the issue at hand.

      • Pendan says:

        As I said in the first post I had not watched the video. The source of the photo did not provide it. I have found the video now and see that the broadcasters were smiling and possibly laughing when they came back up from behind the desk. This information also was not included with the photo which obviously was posted by someone as a miss direct.

        I have also learned those broadcasters were also fired by Blizzard. This maybe strangely is more upsetting to me than the actions taken against the competitor.

  12. Amalec says:

    I cancelled my monthly sub and referenced HK in the ‘why though?’ survey they ask when you do. Even if you have a 3/6/12 month sub, Blizzard will see the stop payment and the survey now even if their wallet doesn’t feel it for months.

  13. Dinsdale Pirannha says:

    The only way this madness changes is if direct action is taken against the directors and C-Suite execs at Blizzard, and all the other corporations that put cash before human rights. The people running these corporations are psychopaths. That is not hyperbole. There are umpteen studies that show that successful corps mirror the behaviour of psychopaths.

    The monsters running these corporations react to one thing, and one thing only: personal danger.
    And yeah, I know exactly what I am saying. We are past any tipping point.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yea that sucks, especially since Riot earlier said they aren’t stopping the casters from saying “Hong Kong” when talking about the team called Hong Kong Attitude. I do wonder if they will censor fans, since Worlds is being held in Europe, like the NBA is doing in the US with Pro-HK signs at games. I hope not, but wouldn’t not be at all surprised if they did.

      • ChanpCityChris says:

        It’s really a shame that business ethics so often conflict with social responsibility. Can’t say I’m a believer am taking a social stance through boycott though. If I stopped frequenting every establishment that made choice of profit over social responsibility Ibwould quickly have little to do, little to eat, and little to wear.

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