The decision by Blizzard to suspend Chung Ng Wai, a professional Hearthstone player in Hong Kong for 12 months while also forcing him to forfeit USD 10,000 in prize money had prompted backlash online. The move is in response to Chung expressing his support for the Hong Kong protests during a live broadcast.
Gamers everywhere reacted angrily on social media and in Blizzard’s own forums, with some politicians seeing it as a sign of China clamping down on speech globally. The company was fairly quiet since then, but has now issued a statement on the matter on their official page.
The company asserts that its actions were not one influenced by its relationship with China, and that its decision to penalise Chung to that degree was admittedly too hastily administered and harsh. As such, Blizzard will reinstate Chung’s prize winnings and reduce his suspension to half a year instead. Whether or not this will appease its intended audience remains to be seen, and with BlizzCon taking place in mere weeks, Blizzard will definitely want things to play out with little trouble as possible.