Fortnite developer Epic Games stated in an announcement that it’s going to not ban gamers or content material creators for political speech. The message comes after Blizzard caught hearth this week for banning an expert Hearthstone participant for shouting an announcement related to Hong Kong protesters.
“Epic supports everyone’s right to express their views on politics and human rights. We wouldn’t ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics,” an Epic Games spokesperson instructed The Verge.
Over the weekend, Blizzard banned Hearthstone participant Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung from collaborating in tournaments after he voiced help for the protesters in Hong Kong. In a post-game interview on Sunday, Blitzchung stated, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” Now, he can not take part in any tournaments for a complete yr (efficient October fifth), and Blizzard is withholding any prize cash he would have obtained within the Grandmasters match over the weekend. Those forfeited winnings have been reported to total around $10,000.
— Inven Global (@InvenGlobal) October 6, 2019
In an interview with AFP, Blitzchung said, “I don’t regret saying that stuff. And even now, I don’t regret it at all.”
Blizzard responded to the criticism saying in an announcement that it stands “by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions,” however Blitzchung violated a contest rule that prohibits gamers from doing something that might deliver “[them] into public disrepute,” offend “a portion or group of the public,” or injury Blizzard’s picture.
Following Blizzard’s resolution, the corporate’s personal boards and subreddits devoted to its video games ballooned with messages from offended followers condemning the ban. The r/Blizzard subreddit went down for a number of hours on Tuesday after the board was overrun with memes and posts calling for gamers to boycott Blizzard and its video games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone.
Senators on each side of the aisle have additionally taken discover, tweeting out statements criticizing Blizzard’s transfer. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) stated, “Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party.” He continued, “No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck.”