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Blizzard’s Big Problem Is Also America’s Problem

 

Let’s talk about this.

 

A little while ago, a player voiced his support during the Hearthstone championship matches. This guy had a lot to lose, but he decided to, on-air, express his support for Hong Kong independence. What happened next helped wake America’s gaming culture, and America’s outrage burnt-out youth up to the injustice happening in Hong Kong.

The tl;dr of it is, Hong Kong, was once a part of China, but for a very, very long time, they weren’t. (It’s complicated) Unfortunately, now they are being forced to assimilate into China. It seems the majority of Hong Kong’s people don’t want this. China doesn’t care.

If you want a good and easy to digest explanation of this, Vox (Yes that filthy company that most people hate) has done a pretty good job explaining it. You can check it out on this video below:

I do not take credit for the above video or endorse Vox in any way besides thinking this video was well done.

Usually, when a big nation threatens a smaller one, the rest of the world, America included steps up to defend them. The problem is, China is really, really rich. They also own government debt of many nations around the world, including ours. They are a major trade partner to pretty much everyone. They also happen to own stock in a lot, lot, lot of companies around the world, including the parent company of Hearthstone.

We’ll get back to that in a minute.

Now, the Hong Kong protests have been going on for a while now. Oddly or suspiciously, depending on how you think about things, American media coverage of it has been lacking. A few spurts of coverage here or there sure, but mostly, it’s been used as a political filler story or tool for one side of America’s political spectrum to hold up against the other.

Then a couple of days ago, South Park released a shockingly on the noise critic of American companies bending over backward to appease China for a crack at the Chinese market. Annnnnnnnnnd, China banned the episode along with the rest of South Park.

To no one’s surprise, this became the biggest Streisand Effect in recent memory, if ever.

News of China’s censorship was all over the place, corporate America selling its soul and Hollywood selling its creative freedom was being called out. Best of all, this was resonating with America’s youth.

A couple of days later, a Hearthstone pro gamer used his platform to voice his criticism of China and support Hong Kong. He was promptly shut down by the broadcast, and then, Blizzard fucked up.

In one of the most tone death, knee jerk, reactions in recent memory, Blizzard issued this statement after stripping the Hearthstone player of his winnings and banning him for a year.

See the official page here. 

That stupidity started #BoycottBlizard.

It’s been kind of a big deal.

Rightfully so, by the way, the internet is reacting to it. Finally, finally, a major company is having its feet held to the fire for bowing to outside influence for putting profit ahead of what is right — for once again, proving that Activision’s evil power has corrupted the heart of the once-beloved gaming company.

Insert possible theory about what evil caused this, and it’s on twitter and trending.

Heck, after thinking about it for a while, even I jumped on board the hate train.

 

Then, I stepped away and went about my day.

To much time on Twitter will rot your brain and make you needlessly angry. It’s nearly impossible to have a conversation with strangers there. As I went about my day, I started thinking and overthinking this all in my spare time. Maybe, just maybe, Blizzard wasn’t wrong here.

Just fucking stupid.

Now, I’m going to unpack that a bit.

 

What Blizzard did was technically the right to do.

The way they went about it was very, very wrong.

I actually agree with keeping politics outside of gaming.

Had the guy put on a MAGA hat, this would have been a totally different shit show. Think for a second of the outrage that would have happened if the same reaction happened. Player A was banned, lost all his winnings, and is a victim of the “left”. Big tech censorship runs amok.

What if the player screamed out for President Trump’s impeachment? If the same punishment were given out, there would be cries of big business censoring an anti-Trump message. Obviously, Blizzard must be supporting Trump.

There was no winning here. 

The worst-case scenarios here would have been if Blizzard allowed this to happen without a clear message and punishment. All of a sudden, gaming events across the country could be the new protest grounds. DIstracting demonstrations would chip away at events people watch or attend just to have a good time.

Should we be talking about these things? Yes, obviously, but should they be forced down our throats when we just want to relax and unwind at a fun event?

Fuck no.

 

Once we let grandstanding in politics into gaming, gaming will lose its safe space appeal.

I don’t mean that in the modern snowflake way. I mean it, as a shut off your brain and relax sort of way. We don’t need to associate woke culture or outrage culture, conservative viewpoints or liberal bias with video games. Sure they can be story elements in the games, but unless it’s what the developers portray themselves or their work as, games should not be political.

We don’t need to divide ourselves even more when we are trying to have fun. Fuck no, not gaming. I don’t want there to be players calling out other players for buying games from a Republican game company. I don’t want players being canceled for publicly not liking a game that just so happens to be from Democrat supporting game company. Let’s not have Sonic or Mario be on any part of the political spectrum. Let’s not have Smash Bros. events at anime conventions turn into Trump or Bernie rallies.

I don’t care about game streamers for the most part, but I’d rather not have them become political pundits for views and bits.

All that bullshit, all that is the evil universe that could be, if we allow this to happen.

The more I think about it, the more I believe Blizzard was right to shut down that player. They just needed a human voice to go along with it, not a tone deaf PR statement citing an vague contract.

Had, Blizzard explained that this was about maybe, just maybe this outrage could have been tempered.

Obviously, not avoided. No one trusts Activision & plenty of people would have suspected that profit, not keeping politics out of gaming was the real reason. But at least, the fanboys and general public could’ve rested a bit easier. As is, this is a shit show of Blizzard’s own doing.

That said, I could be wrong.

Maybe this was 100% about money and keeping China happy. Maybe, helping to stamp out politics was an extra benefit. The same could be said for the renewed spotlight on Hong Kong and China’s global power to keep out foreign interest in helping the protesters.

I’m trying to look for the positives here. To see the situation in the best light possible. That said, I’m just happy that this is happening. It’s forcing us to think about American companies, our companies, our hobbies are in the hands of people who don’t care about us. These aren’t our friends, these are souless companies that are part of an international machine that is purely about profit.

Let the fire rage. Let the hashtags fly, and let us talk about Hong Kong. Let’s talk about Blizzard Activision and EA and Google and Hollywood bending over backward to suck on China’s dick for money.

This is everyone’s problem. Let’s keep talking about it.

It’s also making me excited to see what sort of shitshow Blizzcon is going to be this year. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bernardo Español

Hi I'm Bernardo Español. I'm a guy with way too much energy and not enough free time.

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