Blizzard President Explains Decisions Surrounding Punishments for Hearthstone Players

In an interview with Blizzard president, he explains the decisions made to suspend those surrounding the Hong Kong controversy.

Blizzard has been under a lot of flak in the weeks leading up to its annual Blizzcon event. A convention that’s everything and anything Blizzard, which as we saw this year brought Diablo 4, Overwatch 2and a new World of Warcraft expansion to name a few. The event started off with a public apology from the president, J. Allen Brack who spoke of a “Heartstone moment.”

His apology did not reference anything specific, but it was clear he was on about the recent decisions to suspend Hearthstone players for speaking up in support of the Hong Kong protests.

After the first day of Blizzcon came to a close, PC Gamer states it was contacted by a caster known as Virtual.

Virtual was one of the casters who was on-screen with another caster during the Hearthstone stream which saw Blitzchung make his comment, and then found themselves fired and unsure exactly understand why.

The caster wanted to express frustration at Blizzard’s decision to uphold their ban despite Allen Brack saying in his speech, “I hope it’s clear how committed we are to everyone’s right to express themselves, in all kinds of ways and all kinds of places.”

Virtual told PC Gamer “Expressing myself is exactly what I did during casting. So why is Blizzard still banning me for six months?”

PC Gamer reached out to speak with Allen Brack about this and he was happy to explain the decision. When asked if Blizzard was going to be repealing the punishment against Blitzchung and the two Taiwanese casters, he replied, “We are not.”

He went on to answer why, “we’re huge believers in free speech, and we’re huge believers in free expression.” He also states, “If you think about the people that we have that are esports athletes, our Grandmasters, or anyone who is participating in esports, they’re free to say and do whatever they want on their social channels.”

“We want the official broadcasts, which are a small percentage of the overall content that gets created, to be about the games.” He then uses Blitzchung as an example, saying it wasn’t about the content of his message “It’s about the fact that it was not around the games.”

J. Brack Allen confirms that Blizzard wants players to be able to freely express themselves, but when it comes to using official Blizzard channels, they want the focus to be on the games.

When PC Gamer asked about the firing of the casters, he responded, “It’s clear that the goal is to have the broadcast move forward and be about the games.” he goes on to say “they are hired by Blizzard to do a job, and in this case that job is to keep the broadcast focused on what it needs to be focused on”

Then he ends his response with “They were not successful in their job. That’s how we made the decision on that.”

It was also explained that the Webio post was posted by NetEase and was not authorized, nor approved by Blizzard. And should they have asked to post it, Blizzard would have refused.

The full interview can be read at PC Gamer.

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Ben Bayliss

Based in the UK and adores venturing through FPS horrors and taking photos in pretty much anything with a functioning photo mode. Also likes car games.

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