Why Gamers Are Protesting BlizzCon for Hong Kong


Gamers revolted last month when Activision Blizzard, the company behind some of the world’s most popular video games, punished a player for voicing support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Now, BlizzCon, the highly anticipated annual convention run by the company’s Blizzard Entertainment division, may be disrupted by demonstrations.

Here’s the latest on the controversy and what to expect.

In early October, Blizzard hosted a tournament for the Asia-Pacific region for Hearthstone, a strategy card game. During a post-match interview with the company’s Taiwan stream, Chung Ng Wai, a professional player in Hong Kong, spoke out in support of the pro-democracy and anti-China protests there.

Sporting ballistic goggles and a gas mask — accessories often worn by the demonstrators — Mr. Chung shouted in Mandarin: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” echoing a popular protest slogan. Days later, Blizzard, which also makes the popular game Overwatch, announced that Mr. Chung had violated competition rules against offending “a portion or group of the public.” As a result, the company said he would be punished by being stripped of $10,000 in winnings and barred from the game for a year. It also suspended the hosts of that live stream.

Criticism of the move was swift and intense, with many accusing the company of being motivated by business interests in China. (Tencent, the Chinese internet giant, owns a stake in Activision Blizzard.)



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