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The Blizzard Scandal Continues: The President Responds

J. Allen Brack wrote a statement about the Blitzchung scandal that we kept an eye on in the past week.

„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 are and I will explain. First, our official esports tournament broadcast was used as a platform for a winner of this event to share his views with the world. We interview competitors who are at the top of their craft to share how they feel. We want to experience that moment with them. Hearing their excitement is a powerful way to bring us together. Over the weekend, Blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong—in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action. Every Voice Matters, and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game.

Second, what is the role of shoutcasters for these broadcasts? We hire shoutcasters to amplify the excitement of the game. They elevate the watchability and help the esports viewing experience stay focused on the tournament and our amazing players. Third, were our actions based on the content of the message? Part of Thinking Globally, Leading Responsibly, and Every Voice Matters is recognizing that we have players and fans in almost every country in the world. Our goal is to help players connect in areas of commonality, like their passion for our games, and create a sense of shared community.

The specific views expressed by Blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China did not influence our decision. We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took. If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same. OK, what could Blizzard have done better, and where do we go from here?

Over the past few days, many players, casters, esports fans, and employees have expressed concerns about how we determined the penalties. We’ve had a chance to pause, to listen to our community, and to reflect on what we could have done better. In hindsight, our process wasn’t adequate, and we reacted too quickly. We want to ensure that we maintain a safe and inclusive environment for all our players and that our rules and processes are clear. All of this is in service of another important Blizzard value—Play Nice; Play Fair. In the tournament itself, Blitzchung *played* fair. We now believe he should receive his prizing. We understand that for some this is not about the prize, and perhaps for others, it is disrespectful to even discuss it. That is not our intention.

But playing fair also includes appropriate pre-and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. When we think about the suspension, six months for Blitzchung is more appropriate, after which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses. There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast. 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. 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. At Blizzard, we are always listening and finding ways to improve—it is part of our culture. Thank you for your patience with us as we continue to learn,” the statement reads.

Blitzchung has responded to it, too: „Thank you for your attention in the past week, this is a personal statement and my view on Blizzard’s latest decision. First of all, I’m grateful for Blizzard reconsidering their position about my ban. Earlier this week, I told the media that I knew I might have a penalty or consequence for my actions because I understand that my actions could take the conversation away from the purpose of the event. In the future, I will be more careful about that and express my opinions or show my support to Hong Kong on my platforms.

Many people have been asking me if I accept the latest decision of Blizzard, I will discuss that on two parts. Tournament prizing and suspension. For tournament prizing, I quoted what Blizzard said on the official website, they mention that I played fair in the tournament and they believe I should receive my prizing. This is the part I appreciate, Blizzard also said they understand for some this is not about the prize, but perhaps for others, it is disrespectful to even discuss it. People from Blizzard had explained this to me through a phone call and I appreciate that and I accept their decision on this part.

For the second part about the suspension, Blizzard had changed their suspension on me from a year to six months. Once again, I appreciate for their reconsideration on this. To be honest, I think six months is still quite a lot to me. But I also being told that I can continue to compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit which they mean the Grandmaster tournament. I appreciate this decision they made because grandmaster is currently the highest level tournament in competitive Hearthstone. However, I wish Blizzard can reconsider about their penalty on the two casters involved.

Lastly, many people want to know if I would be competing in Hearthstone in the future. Honestly, I have no idea on that yet. Since my next tournament is very likely to be the grandmaster tournament of next season, it’s probably at least a few months from now on. I will take this time to relax myself to decide if I am staying in competitive hearthstone scene or not. Hearthstone changed the way I live, I love this community. Blessing to all the players out there, and blessing to Blizzard.”

So they cut the suspension date in half, and they will pay Blitzchung the prize he won. There probably will be more to discuss: BlizzCon is just around the corner, and the company faceplanted there last year with Diablo: Immortal…

Source: WCCFTech, PCGamer

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