It's not so much cold as it is hot for Blizzard right now as the gaming publisher once more comes under fire, this time from US lawmakers. The newfound flurry of complaints comes directly from Senator Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden, with the addition of a few Congress members, most notably Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). Though Congress has only signed and sent a letter, since there's little else they can do to reprimand Blizzard's actions, given there was no laws broken, having the US government get involved is certainly a step in the right direction.
JUST IN: @AOC, Senator @marcorubio, Senator @RonWyden, congressman Gallagher and Malinowski have signed a joint letter directed to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick denouncing and condemning Blizzard's punishment of Blitzchung pic.twitter.com/kIaWriif7m— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 18, 2019
The bi-partisan Congressional letter, directed at Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, reads:
"We write to express our deep concern about Activision Blizzard's decision to make player Ng Wai Chung forfeit prize money and ban him from participating in tournaments for a year after he voiced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong...Your company claims to stand by "one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions," yet many of your own employees believe that Activision Blizzard's decision to punish Mr. Chung runs counter to those values."
Ouch. Despite the fact that a new survey showed some Blizzard employees supported the Blitzchung ban, there is still a plentitude of people around the world angered by Blizzard's handling of the situation. Though it is important to note that Blizzard had amended its initial ruling before receiving the letter, eventually awarding Blitzchung his rightful prize money and severing the ban to 6 months. It also cut down the rather unnecessary ban on the two commentators, evidenced by Blizzard President J. Allen Brack's Inside Blizzard blog post. There is no word yet if Blizzard has responded to the bi-partisan letter, yet one thing is for certain: BlizzCon will be one of this year's most interesting events, and all for the wrong reasons.
With BlizzCon no less than a few weeks away, a bevy of upcoming info has already leaked, from the likes of Overwatch 2 details to the highly anticipated Diablo 4 confirmation by way of an artbook. It's unclear how Blizzard will handle the situation, given the variety of expected protests and movements aimed at using the event to send a message. Blizzard may have to make a statement at BlizzCon, though there's little it can do or say that will change the narrative. A great many Overwatch, Hearthstone, and even Diablo players have simply given up on the company, as can be expected. With last year's lackluster event still leaving a sour taste in fans' mouths, on top of the already swirling flurry of Blitzchung protests, BlizzCon 2019 will be one wild ride, to say the least.
Don't put away those Winnie the Pooh and Mei costumes just yet, for Halloween might be over, but BlizzCon is just around the corner. Catch all the action on Friday, November 1.