I completely understand them not wanting their platform to be used to make political statements. This isn't like the NBA situation where Morey used a private social media account to show support for his private political opiniona. This was a platform owned by Blizzard with a very specific content focus.
But banning Blitzchung for any amount of time was just dumb. They have the right to respond that way, but it's still a dumb response.
They should have made a public statement following the incident that went something like this:
"We encourage players and community members to express themselves. However, our tournament coverage is a platform for Blizzard e-sports content only. Any future use of the platform to express personal political opinions on sensitive subject matter without Blizzard's express conscent will be met with punative action."
Follow that up with a description of what that punative action would look like.
I can't imagine any backlash to that. Many people would be unhappy, but I doubt there would be protests or letters from congress.
Blizzard made a mistake and they are refusing to learn from it. Now they get to deal with the fallout.
All evidence seems to indicate Blizzard acted this way because China.
The tournament was over tho?
> Blizzard originally banned the Hong Kong-based player for a year and withheld his prize money after he said "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!" in Chinese during the livestreamed event. That penalty was later reduced to a six-month suspension, and Chung's prize money was reinstated
Second paragraph in https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/10/us-legislators-urge-b...
Personally, I disagree with Blizzard's stance, but it should be noted that they partially backtracked. They're letting him keep the prize money, and down to a 6 month suspension from 12 months.
Blizzard's terms about not causing offense are so broad that one could hardly wish someone a good morning without risking offending someone.
To reiterate: I am not defending Blizzard, just pointing out they had a partial mea culpa.
In the early 2000's, CVS started treating patients at their MinuteClinics in the pharmacy. It became directly comparable to an actual doctors office, where cigarettes haven't been sold since the 1950's.
Anecdotally, and ironically, most of the people that are aware CVS made this move are inconvenienced smokers. I'd expect a huge continued marketing campaign around this endeavor in the US, but it hasn't been as strong as many other less impressive campaigns.
Not sure why everything has to be black and white.
An individual or corporation can hold values that are against smoking but ok with alcohol.
Picking one and not the other does not invalidate the value.
>Anecdotally, and ironically, most of the people that are aware CVS made this move are inconvenienced smokers. I'd expect a huge continued marketing campaign around this endeavor in the US, but it hasn't been as strong as many other less impressive campaigns.
This is not surprising or ironic if the action was based more on ethics and less on PR/ virtue signaling.
CVS has chosen to stop contributing to a problem, and the behavior of other businesses has no bearing on whether they did the right thing.
Granted, it's hard to really know anything, but I'm not entirely sure what you're saying is true. There was probably at least a few people who just said screw it and stopped buying cigarettes because they wanted to quit and needed an impulse. Since their sales actually increased in the years following, and typically cigarettes have ancillary sales, I think at -least- a few people quit due to this move.
If you're having a hard time finding international software developers to work for you because you're sponsoring US border militias (to use a ridiculous example), then you're materially hurting your bottom line via political speech.
And while that's an example of active speech, there are similar examples of lack-of-speech. E.g. employees at cloud companies disagreeing with neutrality regarding ICE contracts.
It's sad that only a relatively small subset of labor has this much bargaining ability, but it does seem healthy in making companies responsive to popular (for some definition) demands.
That's the standard Blizzard MO in everything from business decisions to gameplay patches in all their games.
> Follow that up with a description of what that punative action would look like.
Players already sign contracts stipulating that there will be punitive action for making political statements during tournament streams. I still agree with your broader point that they handled it badly, but I don't think they could have let him off with a warning and had any credibility left.
Credibility in terms of having a punitive response which demonstrates their authority or among players who would be outraged over Blizzard not being cool with political speech mixing with pro championship broadcasts?
What you will soon see is the Chinese outrage dialing down as the government gets a good read on the 0-100 number and retreats for the next 30 years to build strategic power while the rest of the world gets distracted by the next Thing.
You could argue that China may have worked like that in the past, but they don't under Xi. Dictators are never very patient. They are too concerned with personal power to put long term interests ahead of personal gain.
Just look at the HK situation for evidence. All they had to do was keep going slowly and wait till 2047, but Xi couldn't handle looking weak.
If the Chinese economy crashes... well, look at history for the sum of dictatorship + economic malaise.
He overreacted to something that wasn't actually a threat because it hurt his ego.
>If the Chinese economy crashes... well, look at history for the sum of dictatorship + economic malaise.
But yes that is a very good point.
Would you see newscasters held responsible for what an interviewee said on a live feed?
So Blizzard was not quite incompetent, they were just panic hedging against financial threats and to appease the Communist Party of China.
How about let people say what they want and let the public judge by themselves? Is that so hard to do nowadays? You just don't endorse anything individuals say, that's all.
Those discussions are worth having but there are already plenty of platforms available to have them on.
I definitely think it would be wrong for Blizzard to threaten any kind of punitive action against a player who is making those kinds of statements outside of Blizzard's platform.
Blizzard's initial response was awful, and they've done little IMO to walk back from that. However, they do have a right (and the responsibility) to enforce their policies. Hopefully, if this same situation occurs again, they respond with something less than the nuclear option.
This is curious in such an ad supported game and tournament coverage. Do twitch ads take focus away from the tournament? A five second statement by a player is nothing compared to all the non-game material within and around broadcasts.
This seems to me to be some damage reduction strategy that didn’t focus group its statements well enough.
Out of 33 tweets he makes a single mistake/overreach and you want to brand the whole thing as a "ridiculous conspiracy theory"? That seems to be a rather hasty generalization based on the 2nd of 33 tweets...
>brand the whole thing as a "ridiculous conspiracy theory"?
Oh no, I just stopped reading after I reached the ridiculous conspiracy theory. My comment is regarding the part I quoted.
That'd be a mistake, or just poor wording. It kind of sounds like you're accusing me of some kind of silly pedantry here?
There's simply no way one could mistakenly arrive at the conclusion that this post might have originated from China, Mark Kern absolutely knew what he was doing when he dropped that insinuation. There's simply does not exist a single shred of evidence to support the "possibly China" claim.
Had he just left it at "overseas" then you could absolutely dismiss this as a mere mistake, he did not.
Unlike you, I don't think it's all that important a detail as its omission (mistake or not) does not detract from the analysis.
Not to get too meta, but if it was intentional, why would it necessarily be, since it's so incidental to the narrative?
The decision to add "possibly China" despite no evidence pointing towards that was certainly intentional and in bad faith.
>Unlike you, I don't think it's all that important a detail as its omission (mistake or not) does not detract from the analysis.
I think his choice to deliberately misinform is worth being called out whether or not it detracts from the rest of the analysis. It's clear that this thread wasn't written in good faith.
The rest of his analysis is uninteresting and not worthy of much criticism, he's mostly correct, but a HS student could come up with this stuff.
It's just as much "possibly India" as it's "possibly China", there's literally zero evidence (circumstantial or not) suggesting that the post originated from either.
> could be due to Chinese influence
Completely different from the suggestion that the post was literally made in China.
I'm sure absolutely nobody doubts that this post was made due to Chinese influence, it is the claim that the post physically originated from China which I find fundamentally ridiculous.
> The story of three envelopes is a business classic for dysfunctional organizations. It starts with an incoming manager replacing a recently fired outgoing manager. On his way out, the outgoing manager hands the new manager three envelopes and remarks, "when things get tough, open these one at a time."
> About three months goes by and things start to get rough. The manager opens his drawer where he keeps the three envelopes and opens #1. It reads: "Blame your predecessor." So he does and it works like a charm.
> Another three months passes and things are growing difficult again so the manger figures to try #2. It reads, "reorganize." Again, his predecessor's advice works like magic.
> Finally, about nine months into the new job, things are getting really sticky. The manager figures it worked before, why not try again. So he opens the envelope drawer one last time and opens #3. It reads..."prepare three envelopes."
About three months goes by and things start to get rough. The manager opens his drawer where he keeps the three envelopes and opens #1. It reads: "Blame your predecessor." So he does and it works like a charm.
Another three months passes and things are growing difficult again so the manger figures to try #2. It reads, "reorganize." Again, his predecessor's advice works like magic.
Finally, about nine months into the new job, things are getting really sticky. The manager figures it worked before, why not try again. So he opens the envelope drawer one last time and opens #3. It reads..."prepare three envelopes."
April Fools problem was when a person asking a question chose to comment and ask something else, namely about mobile version of Diablo.
I just can't help myself but draw the parallels to the NBA and their current situation as well with China and the utter hypocrisy shown by everyone from GMs to Coaches all the way down to players and media staff. When it came to social issues and black incarceration and inequality in America they spoke up bravely, and stated they wouldn't just "shut up and dribble" as LeBron famously stated.
Steve Kerr, a long outspoken critic of Donald Trump famously stated in 2017, "If you look at the history of the world, the biggest problems come when people don't speak."
Now this is Steve Kerr in 2019 after the China controversy, specifically on whether Morey shouldn't be fired: "I would hope that you appreciate my right to not answer that question because all it does is create a headline"
Sure sounds like the players and coaches are now saying "let us shut up and dribble" and "let us focus on the game"
people reveal their true values when they have to actually make a sacrifice.
Taleb’s Skin in the Game gets brought up a lot, but I think it’s safe for me to assume that unless someone can suffer a loss, they are just saying blargh.
I know there are a few people who might buy less because they really hate trans people (which is really terrible as people should not hate someone on how they express their gender), but it’s not the same hit as 400 million Chinese not buying my stuff.
This ultimately reduces the experience for players because Blizzard acts non-predictably.
Having code-pink style protests aimed at disrupting (not raising awareness) is going to backfire on protestors and could end the internet's fascination w/ supporting HK vs China.
Lets not forget that big money interests are involved heavily in pushing the astroturfing online. Many global and HK national interests depend on HK not being consumed by China. The billionaire protesting in the streets w/ people is being held up as an idol, but the reality is that he will become an even bigger target if HK unifies with China and will likely have his empire dissolved.
I'm all for a free HK, but the fact is that's not going to happen. Barring a world war, they will be eventually incorporated as a part of China proper.
Lots of cons get thrown each year, with games / lore / ip that aren't particularly highly valued. All you really need is a strong community, and the con works. That's it. Great IP helps, but isn't necessary.
I follow Warframe, for example, which is just one game from one studio and their IP is is only worth like ~10% the financial value of Blizzard. Despite this, Warframe has their own convention every single year, that sells out every year. People pay $50 - $300 for tickets to that (plus lodging/airfare/etc). They invested in their community, and it paid off.
EA could easily throw a convention every year, even just with a single game, if they had invested in building a community around it. For example, "Anthem-con" could be a yearly event, if Anthem hadn't shipped incomplete and left to fade away.
Memes about their incompetence seem to be the only way they get any publicity anymore.
Blizzard isn't about the older generation anymore. That is dying off naturally. They have built a new set of products for kids.
Fans are paying much, much, more than $230 to attend NBA, NFL, FIFA, etc. games.
I'm reminded of that image of people in a Call of Duty boycott on Steam, playing Call of Duty. Blizzard will lose some money over the next couple of weeks, but aren't at a real risk of anything.
Slacktivism is a very predictable phenomenon today. I'm seeing plenty of examples of it in both the Blizzard threads today.
I had been a WoW subscriber for over a decade. WoW's quality has been in decline (IMO) recently in BFA, and I stayed because I still occasionally enjoyed it, but it no longer has the same magic that I remember. WoW Classic brought back some of that nostalgia, but it was short lived for me.
BlizzCon last year made it pretty clear that Blizzard has shifted their focus . There is no way they were delusional enough to expect a happy reaction to the Diablo Immortal announcement. It's very clearly targeted at the Chinese market.
Their actions in the past month (and year) are very telling - they are no longer the company I used to admire. I've canceled my WoW subscription as of last week, and I've deleted all of their games from my devices. I know that my actions alone/individually don't really have an impact on them, but I can't go on supporting them after the things they've been doing recently. Bellular has a pretty good video breaking down some of this situation as well .
It'll be interesting to see how BlizzCon goes this year.
"Never meet your heroes".
I stood firm and maintained that CCP was now fighting with plutocracy for changes to the culture in the west. An example is Marvel changing a Tibetan male monk to a western woman. His contention is that even that change was handled as well as you could expect. Even choosing the Celts as her culture is a small poke at the Chinese for their oppression of the Tibetans. Making it a woman even more so.
I'm still angry at Blizz and thinking about what he said. I will at the very least boycott past the Nov. 7th earnings call to see how deep it runs.
He does have a point about the greater good. This might be the wrong target for outrage.
Regular censorship must only happen when it matters: when millions are watching. This is when you strike hard and uncompromisingly.
Shutting down Blizzard in China would be a punishment the CCP handles to its citizens, and a proof to the world that it is not ready to be part of the international culture. It comes with a cost as well. Dare them to do it.
> I stood firm and maintained that CCP was now fighting with plutocracy
> for changes to the culture in the west.
I totally agree and this is a very strong red line to me. I reluctantly agree that it is best that each country does not meddle too much into the national policies of each other, but if China starts to push for universality of their values, we need to stop being shy at pushing back ours.
The e-terrorism that they've carried out using the "Great Cannon" should be internationally understood as a criminal act and get them cut off from the internet, too. That might eventually convey the message that the way they're running a country simply isn't acceptable in 2019.
Many Chinese still use VPNs to access Western media and plenty of movies, TV shows and games are hosted internally on the national network. Blizzard games require a persistent connection to the company's servers to play, so if access to these were revoked a rather thought provoking message would be sent.
Whether Blizzard or the CCP themselves enact that ban, I don't think it particularly matters.
They've already been censoring this subversive content. Two Overwatch characters are revealed as LGBT in the comics but those comics have been censored in China.
There's also weirder examples like this: https://www.engadget.com/2007/07/10/china-removes-skeletons-...
No one is suggesting Blizzard is irredeemable, it's just very unlikely, given Blizzard's past behavior, that they're going to take the necessary steps to fix this.
Honestly, what the heck are you even talking about? You sound like someone who is actively trying to misrepresent the situation...
I cancelled my WoW subscription and uninstalled all their games, quit following the streamers that produced content for Blizz games and started speaking out on social media against them.
Their actions felt like betrayal of values I hold very dear. I'm active in politics locally and donate time to the Pirates (lucky enough to live in Iceland where they actually have made a huge difference).
You tell me! You just wrote:
> I've come around to the position thou that there are redeeming steps Blizz can take.
What is this conversation?
I’m a little split on this. I don’t like what Blizzard did and I think it was definitely influenced by China. So I’m kind of glad this is an issue for them. At the same time my national government helped Censor maps on behalf of China to make sure we were able to get Pandas in one of our Zoos. The censorship was very nicely handled, the issue was showing Taiwan and China as two countries on a map showing panda habitants, and instead of making them one country they simply zoomed in enough for Taiwan not to be part of the map. So no lie on behalf of Chin, but still censorship...
And there are just so many things related to China that are worse than Blizzard. I know this is whataboutism and I know you can boycott more things than one, but I just can’t help feeling silly boycotting Blizzard while I’m using an iPhone.
I do hope this controversy sparks some legislative action, but it’s probably a really tricky area.
I don't think it's stilly. It seems like we've reached a bit of a tipping point on CCP appeasement with the NBA and Blizzard, and there's nothing wrong with hitting while the iron's hot. Hopefully the heat will spread to other areas.
I wonder what can Blizzard possibly do for this not to spiral out of control and please West and China at the same time.
I do not envy their PR department right now.
But then again its all their own doing, so ready up the popcorn...
They will have to ride out the bad PR in the west, because they cannot afford to ride out the chinese market's dominance and profits.
They're only at risk of losing an opportunity to milk the Chinese market for all the money they can later.
What China represents that’s so attractive to multinationals is a virtually untapped market and so enormous opportunity for growth. But if it came down to picking one or the other the smart move would be the west.
I have slightly more sympathy (from a practical perspective) for those with significant supply chains in China - that extraction will take time.
I m using this as a source : https://youtu.be/L3E1feh30fE?t=59 , and i m certain they want to ensure that their mobile titles do well in the chinese market (like their up-coming COD titles, as well as existing titles like candy crush etc). This requires that the chinese gov't "approve" them. They don't want to jeopardize this relationship.
China is not turning out to be a land of milk and honey for western corporations. The best business decision for a Western business with regard to China may be to give up on it, because the PRC wants your local competitor to succeed, not you.
> The shift signals a possible end of an era. For years, it was customary for Western executives to tout their plans for dominating China—a market they felt they had to win as markets elsewhere matured. But foreign consumer brands now hold a smaller market share in the categories tracked by McKinsey & Co. than at any time since the global financial crisis, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of research from the U.S. consulting firm, incorporating data from Euromonitor and IHS Markit. Market share losses were particularly evident in categories such as pet food, passenger cars, videogames, smartphones and appliances.
> Some Western companies, including Carrefour SA, Amazon Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., have decided China is too complex or costly to win for some of their major businesses, and have closed or sold them off after facing powerful local rivals who were able to largely control the market. Ford Motor Co. , Apple Inc. and others remain committed, but are struggling to meet expectations. Amazon said it continues to serve Chinese consumers through its cross-border e-commerce business and remains committed to China. Uber didn’t respond to requests to comment. Ford didn’t comment. Carrefour provided no further comment beyond its press release detailing the transaction.
I made this same comment elsewhere, but it's relevant here, too.
Well that's my guess, but that's not what your boss would tell you to do :D
I wouldn't worry about it.
Hopefully no one harasses those who still decide to go or causes any violence. That never helps anyone.
It's hard to tell if I'm seeing Blizzard and gaming show up more because of tech overlap but both seemed to have a huge impact on increased discussion among people around me. It really brought a lot of exposure to people who don't follow the news that closely, ime anyways.
But the Chinese government might. And that might be much worse for them.
Per Activision Blizzard's investor calls, approximately 10% of their total revenue is from China. So, with a profit margin of 25% and profits in the billions, Activision Blizzard is not going to go bankrupt even should they lose all their Chinese income.
Money is not everything. I think it's a shame that so many are willing to support a company who will ditch their morals for just a bit more profit.
EDIT: This isn't just a hypothetical either, ATVI is on a blacklist of stock that I will not purchase. I hope others will do the same.
1) Their product is only used for fun.
2) They have subscription products that aren't used all the time, and thus easy to cancel if someone is reminded they have it.
I would be surprised if their next quarters earnings projections didnt take a nose dive.
Gamers in the west hope Blizzard is wrong.
* edited because it seems people where taking offence on I miss using the word Chinese instead of "ruling party", that is actually what I meant.
"We'll grind you up and crush your bones."
Sure, it is just an idiom, but it speaks to the thoroughness of their punishments.
EDIT: This is a direct, and recent, quote from Xí Jìnpíng when discussing (with foreign leaders) how the Chinese government will treat anyone who tries to split or sew dissent in China.
> Is it a racial comment when the leader of a country uses that exact quote to describe how they will deal with anyone who threatens the harmony of China, including the situations that the grandparent was referring to?
It is, when your message is an explicit commented on "I think that's the Chinese way of thing:[...]". Please understand that Xi does not speak for all Chinese (hence the protest and conflict) and having an idiom about crushing bones says next to nothing about how a culture or race is.
There are plenty of idioms in English about idiots. Does that say anything about English speakers? I highly doubt it.
Pardon my words. I said it too hastily and don't mean to accuse you. I am born in China and have lived 10 years there. I disagree with some of the actions of the current Chinese government but I am also frustrated with people commenting on things without spending enough time to self educate.
The link that you have attached seem to be mostly anti-government and (IMO) provides a very limited view on a very complex problem.
That may be. But, unfortunately, the vast majority of mainland Chinese are perfectly fine with what the Chinese leadership are doing.
Yes, it may be due to propaganda. Yes, they may not know any better. Yes, they may be being blackmailed.
Justification doesn't help much when you are the one receiving pointy end of the stick.
That said, when the leader of a country uses a phrase, it is going to reflect on the entire country. And yes, that includes various Trumpisms as well. I knew plenty of perfectly nice people who voted for Trump. Some regret it, others do not; but both are tainted unconsciously by their direct association with Trump. And even though I had no (practical) say in his election, his words taint my presence in the eyes of others.
EDIT: Most things are complex. However, I can not come up with a scenario where China's actions against Hong Kong protesters can be considered to be "correct" and "good". At least no scenario that doesn't involve a lot of lying to others and to oneself.
And Xí Jìnpíng's use of the idiom feels a bit literal when it comes to what is happening in HK.
After weighing the facts carefully, I've decided that Blizzard was justified in penalizing the Hearthstone player, justified in penalizing the two casters, and truly abysmal at managing public relations.
My position on Hong Kong is unchanged. I'm still firmly of the belief that China needs to grant Hong Kong full autonomy and/or independence, and that China needs to stop trying to extend its morally bankrupt censorship beyond its own borders.
Going to the specific event in question, the convention of Activision Blizzard, if one person tries to blocks the event with protest, they will be removed, if necessary by physical force. If sufficiently many block the event with protest, the protest will be successful.
If anything, Blizzard doing what it did helped the cause more than anything. If they hadn't done anything, no one would have cared (because people weren't doing a damn thing on this scale before).
I'm not sure what you're referring to.
The protests in Hong Kong have been going on for for at most 200 days and it is only recently that the situation escalated to where we are at now.
Correction: It wasn't until Blizzard banned a HS player during a US/China trade war that people got riled up.
Hong Kong is in crisis and its people need help.
Blizzard's actions do not equate to subservience to China. They may have been a little too harsh in enforcing their extant policy, however.
I think these protesters would be better served by protesting at NBA games, given the much wider audience. I don't deny their right to protest at BlizzCon, but I think they're wasting their time. As such, I don't see their disruption of BlizzCon as anything other than a disruption. It's not like it's going to change my opinion of China (which I've stated elsewhere here).
I would feel sorry for you, but you would have to pay me for that too.
I ask myself what facts are there to be weighted. I doubt playing along and suddenly China liberalizes is a realistic outlook.
But since China wasn't content with keeping their content rules within their own borders, that option quickly became less interesting. And I do believe that warrants a very strong answer. One which could even deescalate and drawing a clear border for China to respect if it wants to be treated in kind.
China needs to be dealt with. The world has ignored its crimes against humanity for too long.
But that doesn't change my position on Blizzard's actions.
If we want the US to move against China, those ties must be cut, not ignored or grown. As such, Blizzard’s actions only helps to prolong China’s dominance.
If you really want China to be challenged, supporting Blizzard doesn’t further that goal.
If you want China to play by the rules of a free society, it must be freed, not ignored. That requires force, and not symbolic protest of a relatively insignificant company.