Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan Hopes for Blizzard to Lift Blitzchung’s Ban
Overwatch Head Jeff Kaplan isn't just against the Blitzchung ban, he says he wasn't even a part of the discussion.
In case you haven’t been in the loop regarding the recent Blizzard controversy, Hearthstone player Blitzchung was banned for a year to compete by the developer after protesting the Hong Kong government during a live tournament stream. After receiving backlash from both the industry and the public, Blizzard decided to lessen the sentence to six months in a lengthy company statement. While the whole situation has been odd at best, Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan surprisingly thinks they acted too harshly.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Kaplan explained his thoughts on the recent events. “I was relieved when they reduced his suspension and I think the suspension should be reduced more or eliminated. But that’s just me,” said Kaplan. “I’m obviously a huge supporter of free speech; it’s something that’s very important to me,” It is worth noting that along with being the director of Overwatch, he is also the Vice President of Blizzard Entertainment right under Brack, but apparently Kaplan didn’t have a say in their decision when normally he is a part in making these type of company choices. “We had to deal with a few of them in season one in particular, and that process usually takes about four or five days to make the decision. There was always a group of us involved in deciding what the punishment should be, and we would heavily devils advocate every part of the decision. So I was actually shocked that such a harsh penalty was levied.”
Jeff Kaplan is not the only Blizzard Head that is against the company’s actions as Hearthstone Director Ben Lee spoke to Kotaku UK stating “The initial decision was too harsh. Definitely should have taken more time to consider something more reasonable, but we can’t take that back,” said Lee. “I think we all wish things had been done differently.”
Last week, President J. Allen Brack opened up BlizzCon with an apology to players but did not mention Blitzchung or the situation at all. Honestly, I don’t think there will be any revised actions from Blizzard, but I hope they mean what they say and learn from their decisions moving forward.