How the hell do you bounce back from this? "Oh, sorry, player base, we didn't mean to support a totalitarian regime that slaughtered innocents and suppresses free speech. Have a cool skin!"
... That's exactly how they're going to bounce back, isn't it?
And I think there are gamers, like me, who haven't paid money to Blizzard in a while because I don't subscribe to anything Blizzard, but I already own a bunch of games.
What should I do?
Though anyone planning to boycott would best keep in mind not to forget about anything labelled Activision too.
How about any reasonable replacement game? I'd say the game industry is pretty well saturated. It's not like there's only one great game per genre, or only one great gaming system.
So the answer is there is nothing to bounce back from. A bunch of people making a stink about something on message boards is still going to only be a tiny fraction of the overall base. Most gamers just want to play fun games, and will pay their money unless there is direct evidence of the company doing something beyond the pale for all of society.
It's the same reason you don't see more bicycle riding vegans, even though ostensibly many people don't like to see animals mistreated and understand that global warming is happening.
I'm depressingly pessimistic about there being any long or even short-term consequences for this. 5 Years ago? Maybe it would have been harder to ride out. But these days you need not wait long, sometime no longer than a few days, before the next outrage of the moment rears its head. Society has become inured to it, which in turn means organizations like the NBA or Blizzard have become inoculated from the consequences.
But what can they do if they are headquartered there?
I know it's not that simple to move a company elsewhere but if you're in an oppressive state and your business is suffering because you have to bow the overlords, maybe it's time to run.
There has to be a better balance then "We will always respect and defend the pride of our country" (even if that is a slight mistranslation).
I have a feeling blizzard just wants this problem to go away, otherwise people are going to turn blizzcon 2019 into a shitshow
> Tickets to BlizzCon, once purchased, cannot be refunded by the purchaser or exchanged;
I'm not sure why that should matter.
Either the company immediately disavows the "rogue" statement, or everyone (including employees) will see it as an official statement.
I'd translate it as: "We will continue to uphold respect towards countries." There's no "pride" or "our" in the original.
What Tencent has never seen before, and what all Chinese companies need a wake-up call to, is punishment for bending over backward to a dickbag government.
US companies are used to weighing what the government wants and what its consumers want and finding a decent footing (to maximally benefit shareholders). Chinese companies just do whatever the party wants. It's bad for everyone except the CCP.
Yep, frankly I'd guess part of the logic here is "Have you seen what EA gets away with? We'll be fine." The further removed the offense is from the purchase, the harder boycotts are to organize. And AAA game boycotts seem tricky to manage even for "this specific game is ripping off its players in these specific ways", so "this company did something shady around a tournament that casual players will never even hear about" is a pretty tough target. Plus, "don't buy" and "don't microtransact" are much easier targets than "don't play WoW/SCII/Hearthstone after you're already invested".
On the other hand, boycotts for any popular product don't tend to have their impact through actual lost income. There's already media focus on the story, and if a boycott influences devs, streamers, modders, etc. then it's not just a question of direct sales losses.
The thing is that they are right, right now all of this mess is mildly entertaining to regular internet news and memes consumer crowd because it is novelty.
Twitter of course thrives on fresh scandalous information, especially if it involves big names, big words and gives an illusion of action and major influence - see?! I just reetwtted, I'm doing my part, I'm contributing to fight with great regime! Just go ahead go on streets,I'll tweet for you all!
However the problem is that 'likes' and 'retweets' are mostly meaningless and once novelty aura fades away nobody cares- Venezuela? it is still happening, Syria? still going, Libya? Yemen? what's this? Boo, boooring, man! What's is this all about, stop being such party pooper /s
They've given no indication they've changed their mind on this matter, so it seems kind of premature to assume someone else has taken control over their account. The Weibo statement is consistent with their public position.
If they want to show fans that their stance on this matter has changed, they should unban Blitzchung, give him back his prize money, and rehire the interviewers they fired.
An American company didn't offend them. An American company "bent their knee" (as people are saying) and ban a user who showed support of the Hong Kong protests, fired the two commentators, and rescinded the prize money the gamer won.
CCP wants people to believe they have "power" - control, and that "all" will "bend their knee" for them. We don't know if Blizzard posting an "apology for offending 'China'" for the actions of a user was from anyone in a decision chain at Blizzard - from the very top or if it was ordered or perhaps "requested" under pressure.
These stars from Taiwan who have PRs in China, their Weibo wall may have post they do not agree automatically. That's because these PRs in China work so hard to doing their damage control job before everything goes wrong. I think years before, this may worked in China.
But something changed recently. There are too many "internet red guards" in China. They want to use the same criteria to censor whole world by VPN the great wall. Once "internet red guards" target a company or star, they will dig everything they don't like(maybe 5 years ago!!) and post inside the wall. Then they encourage everyone in China boycott it. After that, government have excuse to suspend someones business. That's why Morey's twit cause NBA so much.
And I don't think situation like this that Weibo post of Blizzard will do any help once Blizzard they need to apology to people outside of china. But we don't see Blizzard have any announcement to us yet. I think this PR post or discussion inside great wall is a clever move that control Blizzard international. They want Blizzard to say nothing or it will cause them more damage in China.
for our everyday life reference:
I don't trust any of these reports about Chinese social media being outraged about these actions by Westerners or Western companies -- it's controlled too tightly by the Chinese government. I could see any of the following being true about any of these recent controversies:
1. The outrage is fully manufactured by the government-paid 50-cent party posters (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party).
2. Normal Chinese social media users are genuinely outraged, but only because the 50-cent party got the ball rolling.
3. The outrage is genuine, widespread, and organic.
4. The outrage is genuine and organic, but not widespread. It's just basement dwellers and the like, and most regular Chinese people don't care or don't care much.
5. The outrage is genuine and organic, but not widespread, but is also getting amplified and promoted by the authorities through algorithmic ranking.
Honestly, IMHO only #3 deserves any response from Western companies and coverage in Western media as popular opinion. The rest should be either ignored or reported on as a propaganda campaign.
similar post on the Blizzard account: https://www.weibo.com/5883095259/Iax1avYRU
Which links here: https://playhearthstone.com/en-us/blog/23179289
EDITED: to add hearthstone account link.
They explained that non-Chinese companies were not allowed to operate in China. What Blizzard had done was essentially a partnership, but legally they gave rights to a Chinese company to operate/use their IP in China.
I suspect this is the same here, this is a Chinese company with a right from Blizzard to use their IP, but isn’t actually Blizzard itself.
Blizzard probably can’t control what this Chinese company does in China except probably for terminating their license to use their Hearthstone IP, and even then I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s legally challenging.
I still find it fascinating how no-one was screaming "trade war!" at such terms. Yet respond to them with a few tariffs..
In the US, nobody noticed until the US government started employing stronger mercantilist policies, then started complaining about it at home because they don't like that their own government is employing such policies.
That's probably why.
It's worth noting that punitive tariffs, in the end, are taxes on businesses in your own country, because it just raises the price of US businesses doing business (and often gets passed on to consumers, when demand for the product is strong enough to pass the cost on to consumers; otherwise, businesses just suffer and have to start cutting costs in other areas, such as by laying off workers).
Mercantilist policies hurt the local economy as much as they hurt foreign economies. Every act escalating a trade war hurts both sides.
Pretty much the entire media participated in the narrative that it was Trump that started the trade war - both in the US, and here in Europe. That's what I was referring to, not Chinese media.
> Mercantilist policies hurt the local economy as much as they hurt foreign economies.
So economists keep repeating. Yet China doesn't seem to have been hurt by their mercantilism. Because yes, in the short term, tariffs hurt, but they let local industry develop without being crushed by foreign competition. In fact, " ... none of the world's most successful trading regions, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and now mainland China, reached their current status by adopting neoliberal trading rules." . But economic consensus remains untainted by contact with reality.
Probably why there's a very blatant Chinese Overwatch ripoff game that Blizzard hasn't gone after.
Still, I think they should grow some balls.
Acting like this now mean it will be worse in the future.
However, even if my theory is correct, I suppose one could argue that Blizzard is complicit by choosing profits over terminating the business arrangement, but, maybe that’s legally challenging.
I don’t know the real story, but I think the situation is a lot more complicated than it appears.
1) I simply don't think it's feasible to expect that companies themselves will band together and say "we won't accede to such demands."
2) Countries like the US that have better free speech protection could pass laws requiring US companies to comply with the freedom granted in the US. So a company could not impose punitive measures on a user, or self censor, for something legal within the US. But then I think of all of the varieties of harassment & hate speech that could get through.
I think that actual Blizard has no control here and the situation is a lot more complex than is immediately apparent.
4) Individuals signal to companies, via their spending habits, what they won't put up with.
Yes, its that bad and people think mostly about themselves. If something does not impact you directly it does not exist.
The Australian Prime Minister is between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, China is our major trade partner. On the other hand, America is our ally and also a major trade partner. So Morrison has to dance with each.
Blizzard, I read, have significant investment from China, and China are a massive market for them. So they self-censor in order to stay in China's good graces.
I don't see how corporations and countries can do business in China, without compromising their values and possibly stepping on the values of citizens/customers in democratic countries.
The way China spends that money is very smart - they will be self sustained soon by buying up Africa.
They dont care about rest of the world, they dont have to. Soon not USA but China will be the biggest imperium on Earth.
Thats how more or less cards look like now.
Their Chinese statement was way more apologetic than the English one.
>... are filled with indignation and strongly condemn it, also absolutely object to ...
They recently banned a player and revoked his winnings for speaking out in support of the Hong Kong protests.
The original issue:
"Blizzard Suspends Professional Hearthstone Player for Hong Kong Comments"
"Fallout from Blizzard Hong Kong Incident"
"Gamers propose punishing Blizzard by flooding it with GDPR requests"
"After Hearthstone player’s ban, Blizzard is in hot water with lawmakers"
"Overwatch's Mei Is Becoming a Symbol of the Hong Kong Resistance"