On October 8th, Video game developer Blizzard banned virtual card game Hearthstone player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung for voicing support for Hong Kong protesters during a competition live stream. Since then, Blizzard has banned three college students and temporarily suspended multiple people in a Twitch chat for also expressing support for the protests.
In the story stream below, follow the developments after Blizzard joined a list of companies coming under fire from users, activists, and lawmakers for moderating support for the protests. Some critics see the move as acquiescing to the Chinese government, and both Apple and the NBA have faced similar allegations.
These incidents have sparked outcries about the restriction of free speech and expression, and raised the all-too-familiar debate surrounding whether politics should be kept out of gaming, sports, or anything else. There’s speculation that US-based companies are trying to appease China through this kind of moderation, and it’s seemingly motivated by profit.