Epic Games CEO supports freedom of speech despite Tencent's stake in company

Brian Kibler will not be casting the Hearthstone Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon

In the wake of Blitzchung's ban, social media sites dedicated to Blizzard's games have exploded with outrage over the perception that, due to the publisher's stake in the Chinese video games market, it has chose to prioritize profits over free speech. What started out as silent, anonymous acts of protest have now graduated into more visible and active action against Blizzard and those in charge.

Blizzard is under fire for punishing a professional Hearthstone player from Hong Kong over his support for the current Hong Kong protests. The players involved will be banned, and the commentators involved will be immediately terminated from any official business.

Activision Blizzard, based in Santa Monica, Calif., banned Ng Wai Chung, who plays remotely from Hong Kong, from competing in the company's online multiplayer card game Hearthstone E-sports for one year. A petition regarding Blizzard's decision has reportedly also been making the rounds at the company's headquarters; the petition will be presented to the company's executives although there's been no mention what the petition specifically contained.

In the blog post announcing Blitzchung's ban, Blizzard said he had violated the rules of the competition by making statements that were harmful to the company.

Blitzchung said to Inven Global that "I think it's my duty to say something about the issue".

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One Blizzard employee told Daily Beast: "The action Blizzard took against the player was pretty appalling but not surprising".

The response to that choice has been resoundingly damning, however, prompting additional protests on official Blizzard streams, Blizzard staff to take part in disgruntled protests due to feeling that company values have been betrayed, the company's subreddit to become so toxic that it was locked down, and even a harsh statement from US Senator Ron Wyden. When I learned about the ruling, I reached out to Blizzard and informed them that I no longer feel comfortable casting the Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon. I am opposed to Blizzard's fear of China and the silencing of Blitzchung.

That kind of appeasement is simply not something I can in good conscience be associated with. Marco Rubio and Democratic Sen.

On Wednesday, a tweet began to spread like wildfire that implied Blizzard was attempting to counteract the wave of account deletions by disabling the authentication methods used to access any account. "No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck".

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