Blizzard has been facing a heavy stream of criticism after banning Blitzchung from competing in Hearthstone competitions after he voiced his support for the protests in Hong Kong. Many players have quit Hearthstone, commentator Brian “Kibler” Kibler has announced he will not take part in Grandmasters livestreams, and Blizzard's own employees have staged a walk-out in protest.
But despite the vocal outrage, Blizzard has shown little sign of backing down from their choice. Not only have they shut down an American Hearthstone team that showed their solidarity with Hong Kong, but they have also used one of their official social media pages to express support for the Chinese Government.
On Blizzard's official Hearthstone Weibo account, the account manager posted a declaration that explained the reasoning behind Blitzchung's ban. In addition to the image, the account stated that Blizzard will "as always, resolutely safeguard national dignity."
The comments responding to this post on the Chinese social media site were almost unanimously in favor of Blizzard's official statement. Some even called for a Blizzard to hand Blitzchung a lifelong ban, and others said they wished the NBA would take the same hard-line stance as Blizzard did in response to the Houston Rockets' owner tweeting support for Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, in the west, people have continued to Condemn Blizzard's actions. The hashtag #BoycottBlizzard has only grown, and Overwatch's Mei has been co-opted as a symbol of support for Hong Kong, with protesters hoping that this will result in China banning Overwatch in the same way that the country banned Winnie the Pooh.
Despite their vocal support for China on Weibo, Blizzard remained silent in western social media. The official Hearthstone Twitter account didn't post anything since October 4, and Blizzard's official Twitter account remained silent since October 1. A similar pattern can be seen on Facebook, with the official pages for both Hearthstone and Blizzard going completely silent for the same time period. Only on Friday evening did the Blizzard blog put out an official statement, saying "our relationships in China had no influence on our decision."
It seems unlikely that Blizzard will reverse its course on its choice to ban pro-Hong Kong language from its tournaments. More likely, they will try to wait this controversy out and hope that players in the west eventually forget about it. Whether this will help or hurt Blizzard in the long run remains to be seen.