back to article US games company Blizzard kowtows to Beijing by banning gamer who dared to bring up Hong Kong

US games company Blizzard has caused a storm of protest for suspending a professional gamer after he made comments in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Chung Ng Wai is one of the best players of Blizzard’s Hearthstone game, going by the name “Blitzchung,” and was interviewed having just won a match of the game …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freedom-hating assholes

    "... must abide by the official competition rules"

    ...which Blizzard made themselves and still can't tell which rule specifially was broken.

    Genuine corporate PR bullshit. Blatant censorship because China, no doubt about that.

    1. _LC_ Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Freedom-hating assholes

      Ohum... You could make about the same speech replacing “Hong Kong” with "Hawaii". You'd get the same reaction from Blizzard. What you wouldn't get, is the media hype and the mass of agitated fools that go with it. ;-)

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Freedom-hating assholes

        "Ohum... You could make about the same speech replacing “Hong Kong” with "Hawaii"."

        Bollocks would you. If a gamer shouted "Freedom for Texas/Scotland/Catalonia" at the end of their game, I bet you that the person wouldn't be banned.

        1. _LC_ Bronze badge
          Angel

          Re: Freedom-hating assholes

          "Catalonia" - and not be banned? Which planet have you been living on lately?!?

          1. Suricou Raven Silver badge

            Re: Freedom-hating assholes

            In international clout, Spain has a lot less influence. If Spain says "No more showing your matches on TV!" then... well, not much - it's not that huge a market, and the government of Spain has limited ability to enforce it as they have independent media. If the government of China says the same, they *can* enforce it, and the company loses access to a much larger, more lucrative market - plus China can make life harder for the company in other ways, including outright banning their games.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Freedom-hating assholes

            ""Catalonia" - and not be banned? Which planet have you been living on lately?!?"

            I think you maybe being a little over dramatic. While Catalan independence is a prominent issue (along with other Spanish independence movements), I'm not aware of any human rights abuses currently occurring against those movements. Potential injustices, but on a reactively minor scale compared to Hong Kong that is close to having an occupying army and people being injured in large numbers on a daily basis.

            Someone standing up for Catalonia at a Hearthstome tournament where Spain is an established but relatively small market for Blizzard with minimal on-going investment specifically targeted at Spain would likely result in a little PR and a few free t-shirts to anyone who was upset.

            Which is why Blizzards over-reaction to the comments about Hong Kong to appease China stands out. Their future plans revolve around China and screw any other considerations when 90% of your current market is outside China.

            1. _LC_ Bronze badge

              Re: Freedom-hating assholes

              "I'm not aware of any human rights abuses currently occurring against those movements."

              Is that snoring or are you trolling?

        2. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Freedom-hating assholes

          We've seen legitimately elected Catalonian politicians and peaceful activists in court fighting extradition to Spain from Scotland, Belgium and other EU nations to face unjust imprisonment.

          No, it is not as unjust as Hong Kong, not as deadly, but it implicates us. For that matter hundreds of protesters have been shot dead in Iraq recently, and the Kashmir crisis risks nuclear war that risks humanity.

          Misery of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan would be global

          50-125 million immediate deaths, and then the weather changes.

          https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/10/misery-of-a-nuclear-war-between-india-and-pakistan-would-be-global/

    2. theblackhand Silver badge

      Re: Freedom-hating assholes

      FYI - Blizzards statement showing the rule that was broken:

      https://playhearthstone.com/en-us/blog/23179289

      While this allows Blizzard to justify their actions, it moves the issue from a contractual issue that may have had legal consequences to a moral/ethical/PR question that is far harder for Blizzard to explain away in the "land of the free".

      1. Gaius

        Re: Freedom-hating assholes

        “Comments are disabled”

        Of course they are.

      2. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Freedom-hating assholes

        The rule itself is a delightful catch-all:

        Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.

        So, say/do something that offends any portion of the public and you're out. So basically a contractual term that can be applied to anyone, as it is unlikely that when anyone says pretty much anything it won't offend some group of twats on the internet.

  2. cdegroot

    " centralized and authoritarian political system"

    I read somewhere that the technical term is "fascist" and if you look up the definition, it fits surprisingly well. Seems the differences between "far left" and "far right" are much smaller than I was taught at school :)

    1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Dictatorships are the same whether left or right wing. Those in power always have better houses, cars, food etc. than the oppressed. As Napoleon once said "All pigs are equal, just some are more equal than others." - that's Animal Farm's Napoleon, not the short-arse one. And who also wrote Big Brother. Now did George forsee the future, or just lay out the blueprints?

    2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      I really wish people would stop believing the bullshit that the political spectrum is a single line rather than the multi-axis construct that it is. You have just so many different axes that political systems can be measured along. For example you have the "Authoritarian - libertine" axis, the "Democratic - Autocratic' axis, the 'Anarchy - strict hierarchy' axis, "Restorative - retributive justice', 'self - state', and so on. And this isn't even getting to the various other axes that describe how a nation operates. Two systems can share the same point on some axes but be at opposite ends on others.

      China may match up to "Communism" on the "single market - free market" axis, but is on the opposite end on the "Authoritarian - Egalitarian" axis.

      But, also, I wish people would stop believing that country follows a certain political model just because they say they do... A country can put as many labels on themselves as they want, doesn't make a lick of difference in how the country actually operates.

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge
        Big Brother

        multi-axis construct

        Watched a fascinating economics podcast not so long; that was discussing the actual differences between Fascist & Communist economic models.

        If I understood it right, Fascists use government money to prop up failing companies for the good of the board members. Communists absorbs the companies into the government bureaucracy for the good of the board members (Who then become party members)

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "for the good of the board member" - really???

          A large number of "board member" had to flee to avoid to be killed or sent to gulags, while the party took control of the companies and distributed power among its members - only a few could turn into "party members".

          Just loot at how executives can still "suddenly disappear" in China.

          Fascism can nationalize companies or not - remember Mussolini had strong socialist roots, depending on the mood and party interests. IRI (1933) in Italy became a vector for nationalization of many industries and banks, and survived the war - eventually being dissolved only in 2002, after re-privatizations.

          Nazism was a different thing - which sought a strong pact with industrialists - but German companies were far away from being "failing companies" - although they greatly took advantage of the situation. Not that the Party didn't put its men in the companies as well.

          A failure was the whole Russian economy which lead to the fall of the Soviet Union, when it became fully unsustainable.

          Anyway in any dictatorship extremely high control of any economic activity is inevitable, even when some can be devolved to close oligarchs - the system cannot work otherwise.

          Look for better podcasts... by someone who has at least a pale knowledge of history....

          1. Long John Brass Silver badge

            Re: "for the good of the board member" - really???

            /me not an economist; So I can't comment in the veracity of what they were saying... But I suspect they were talking about a theoretical "pure" forms of the above.

            Which we all know never really exist in the real world(tm)

            The deep irony of ostensibly fascists dictators nationalising industry, and WW2 German govt running under the banner of Democratic Socialists and then fighting communists, simply suggests that you have to ignore the labels people give themselves and others and watch very carefully what they actually do!

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        There seems to be a recent effort to dilute the term "facist" because it's being used (not unreasonably) to describe the far right. See also; edgelords trying to make out that because the Nazi party was called the 'National Socialist Party' that therefore socialism == nazis.

        I will admit though, that for someone living under an authoritarian regime, it doesn't really matter if it's a left- or right-wing system, when the police are busy kicking the shit out of you.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          I do however find it amusing and instructive that a socialist party in Scotland campaigns primarily on nationalist grounds.

          I'm sure it's only coincidence that they keep trying to overthrow the lawfully elected Government of the UK.

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            "I do however find it amusing and instructive that a socialist party in Scotland campaigns primarily on nationalist grounds. I'm sure it's only coincidence that they keep trying to overthrow the lawfully elected Government of the UK."

            Oh, you've got it arse over elbow. The SNP are a nationalist party that campaigns primarily on socialist grounds. We don't have your new prescription fees, your new university fees, and unlike you we welcome immigrants.

            We are not trying to overthrow the lawfully elected Government of the UK, we are trying to empower the lawfully elected Government of Scotland.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_the_Softy

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              So you're social nationalists rather than national socialists? I'm sure that makes all the difference.

              Incidentally, prescription fees in Scotland are paid for by taxpayers in England (thanks to the inherently unfair Barnett formula), university fees in England were voted in by Scottish MPs against the will of MPs representing England and immigration to Scotland is a tenth of the immigration to England.

              And yes, Ian Blackford and his fellow collaborators is continually doing his utmost to prevent the Government of the UK going about its lawful business, including explicitly sabotaging its attempts to successfully deliver an outcome that more Scots voted for than voted for SNP MPs.

      3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Pretty much the only voice that never gets heard these days is that of the moderates, because by definition it isn't controversial and doesn't sell papers or push up ratings.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      " centralized and authoritarian political system"

      It does fit communism completely also, and Soviet Union employed it before Mussolini came to power. In some ways Lenin & C. made clear it was possible, others followed - slightly different ideology, same results. You use the one you think works best in you situation, the aim is always to enslave the others.

      And don't forget China is ruled by a *communist* party.

      Just, many 'useful idiots' have been trained to repeat ad nauseam 'communism gooood, fascism baaaaaad', like Orwellian sheep, hence what you've been taught at school.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re:And don't forget China is ruled by a *communist* party.

        I'd wager you think the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is democratic as well.

    4. deive

      A perfect example of schools making people remeber mostly useless crap by rote, but not actually teaching anything useful to everyday life.

    5. SoaG

      Fascism is a methodology, not an ideology

      Neither inherently right nor left.

  3. Chewi
    FAIL

    Blizzard Streisand

    I think they've really shot themselves in the foot here. If they'd simply ignored it, I doubt China would have even noticed.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Blizzard Streisand

      Do you think maybe that might be part of the intent here? You have companies like Apple, Blizzard and others walking a fine line to keep the Chinese happy to avoid impact that relationship, but knowing that the publicity around their actions can easily have the opposite effect the Chinese leaders desire.

      Had Blizzard ignored this guy his statement would not have been reported outside the gaming community and probably gained little notice in the west. By banning him with immediate effect and confiscating his prize money it made headlines and he got far more notice than his actions ever would have.

      By dropping the Taiwanese flag from the HK localization of iOS (but leaving the image in the OS making it easy to copy into messages, or to type via an alternative localization for the keyboard) Apple did the minimum possible to assuage the Chinese government without actually doing anything - and probably due to this publicity people in Hong Kong will be putting the Taiwanese flag in more messages/posts than they were before (even if it takes a few extra seconds to cut and paste it out of an older message) just to thumb their nose at China's ham-fisted attempts to repress the population.

      Blizzard could have waited and simply rejected this guy's entry in future tournaments for some unspecified reason, and it would have been ignored and no one could have connected it with the Chinese. If Apple really wanted to give the Chinese what they want, they could have made it impossible to type or copy/paste the Taiwanese flag in Hong Kong - they could have even geofenced it if they were really on China's side. Instead they did the minimum possible, in the most public way, and in a way that doesn't affect Hong Kong's protestors at all - in fact it tells them there's something they can include in their messages that will upset the Chinese leadership.

      Side note - I successfully copied the Taiwanese flag into this message and can see it in the edit window, but it doesn't show up in the preview and when I try to submit it fails without any error message. Weird.

      1. A-nonCoward
        Pint

        Re: Blizzard Streisand

        that is weirdly insightful, and raises optimistic paranoia to an uncanny level. ->

        Have one on me, you earned it

      2. RunawayLoop

        Re: Blizzard Streisand

        Apple just pulled an app that let HK'ers track police whereabouts

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Blizzard Streisand

          And they can still go to the web site. Again, something that made the news and that news told them they can simply go to the web site as well as making those who didn't know about this app/site aware of it. Again, publicity over a non-action that will backfire on the Chinese authorities by increasing attention on this app/site.

          If Apple was really on the Chinese government's side they would have blocked Safari from accessing that site.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blizzard Streisand

          "Apple just pulled an app that let HK'ers track police whereabouts"

          While I can see where that maybe useful, I think tracking the police oversteps a line both legally and morally.

          While it can be used to help protesters avoid police, it could also be used to rally protesters to specific locations either as part of an escalation in violence or as a trap for protesters.

          I'm not sure I would class this as Apple censorship - I think any decision they could have made would have been viewed by one or more sides as wrong but the route they have taken means they can't be accused of causing violence.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Blizzard Streisand

            "While it can be used to help protesters avoid police, it could also be used to rally protesters to specific locations either as part of an escalation in violence or as a trap for protesters."

            It was mostly used by people trying to avoid protests.

        3. DougS Silver badge

          And now they approved the app

          And China's state run media condemned the action. Which is the worst of both worlds for them, the app got the publicity and then Apple was seen publicly acting against them which causes China to lose face. I imagine that particular story is far from over.

          Still, Apple does employ a lot of people in China so they can't crack down too hard or they risk Apple taking their manufacturing elsewhere - Foxconn is a Taiwanese company not Chinese so Apple wouldn't have to switch manufacturing partners, only manufacturing location. And Apple is such a big force in that market, that they could get suppliers to move out of China as well.

          So I think Apple calculated that the Chinese can only wag their finger, but can't take any actions. Maybe they can play the "patriot" card to their population, but this is different than the trade war where a patriotic appeal can work - most Chinese know what is really going on in Hong Kong, and aren't going to hate on Apple for going against the Chinese government in this instance.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blizzard Streisand

        For some of the companies (i.e. Apple), I think you may be right.

        For Blizzard, I understand Tencent have a 5% stake in Activision-Blizzard and they have very strong growth plans in China over the next 2 years. This was a reaction to how quickly South Park and the Houston Rockets have been blocked in China that they wanted to avoid.

        Unless, of course, if Blizzard comes out with a plausible alternative.

        I see very little difference between the response of the NBA and Blizzard in their responses to comments from affiliated people - shut them down as quickly as possible to appease China and avoid censorship of their products and hope the problem goes away.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Blizzard Streisand

          The NBA has turned around and basically told China to p%ss off though.

          https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-49979057

          Their initial response might have been weak, but they have at least realised that there core market (the US) was about to turn on them massively.

          Blizzard on the other hand will, based on past experiences, continue blythly on, lose massive amounts of support from the West, and then in a couple of years get kicked out of China when China shuts its markets to support local developers.

      4. S4qFBxkFFg

        Re: Blizzard Streisand

        "Side note - I successfully copied the Taiwanese flag into this message and can see it in the edit window, but it doesn't show up in the preview and when I try to submit it fails without any error message. Weird."

        When I try to include it, the error is "The post contains some characters we can’t support", but it appears to apply to all emoji flags.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blizzard Streisand

      Consider that the Chinese were upset by a tweet from the NBA even though twitter is banned in China.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Blizzard Streisand

        Haha. I never considered that. Did the chinese person who spotted the tweet and reported it, get punished for using a banned service???

        That would be the ultimate in hilarious hypocrisy...

  4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, California, and is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard controlled by Peoples Republic of China Central Committee.

    Fixed Wiki.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. controlled by Peoples Republic of China Central Committee

      no, they're controlled by desire to earn as much money as possible (and fuck the morality, unless it makes more money). I find it hypocritical that people lambast them while at the same time they happily use hardware, software and other shitware which - most probably - follows the same principle (including the principle not to rock the China boat). Voice your outrage at hypocritical apple, but don't forget to check if your outrage has been well-received, on your iphone.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: re. controlled by Peoples Republic of China Central Committee

        "If you do not maintain perfect ideological purity you have no right to espouse any political position."

  5. razorfishsl

    He should be banned...

    He was involved in a game playoff , not a political rally...

    This kind of idiot is just enabling children to go out and smash up , publicly owned infrastructure....

    They were all over the roads in our area smashing up traffic lights, leaving nails on the roads & tricking up posters..........

    Please explain WTF has this to do with "freedom" from china?

    1. RunawayLoop

      "This kind of idiot is just enabling children to go out and smash up , publicly owned infrastructure...."

      Weren't they doing that already? I fail to see how this guy is 'enabling' protesters to riot.

      "Please explain WTF has this to do with "freedom" from china?"

      'Freedom' is the ability to criticize the government and not get punished for it, which is exactly the opposite of what happened here.

    2. llaryllama

      Exactly the problem

      If those disillusioned kids were allowed a voice for their own future without heavy handed ham fisted directions being sent down from their CCP overlords none of the violence would have happened.

      The Chinese government puts Face above all else, it's like having a proud and arrogant father who will lie on his death bed with no friends or family around rather than admit he's wrong.

      Banning HK youth from any events for having an opinion will make things 10x worse for all involved.

      1. THMONSTER
        Trollface

        Re: Exactly the problem

        I never realised the power that the makers of Eve Online had.

        No more blockading Jita for me!

    3. Joe W Silver badge

      An iconic picture of people just involved in a sports contest...

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Olympics_Black_Power_salute

      1. _LC_ Bronze badge
        Black Helicopters

        I love how this got "censored"...

        That's not the "Black Power salute". The gesture is a bit more "universal" than that. ;-)

      2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Side note

        The white Aussie chap on the podium was also supporting them by wearing an OPHR badge.

        At his funeral, the two black chaps were his pallbearers.

  6. Garymrrsn
    Flame

    What next?

    Will Blizzard start paying their employees in Yuan? Or maybe just have them wear little red caps with a yellow star?

    1. RunawayLoop

      Re: What next?

      I think they have their eyes on some 're-education' camps... oops... err facilities.

    2. theblackhand Silver badge

      Re: What next?

      At least some of the Activision-Blizzard employees are unhappy - the company has a number of plaques outside its HQ stating its "values". "Think Globally" and "Every Voice Matters" were covered up by an employee:

      https://i.imgur.com/OzqK3zO.jpg

  7. Chozo
    Big Brother

    See the world in a spit of land

    Been reading snippets from HKmap.live and it's giving a fascinating insight into how a surveillance state operates. The use of masks by protesters for instance is apparently being weakened by the Police/Gov by throwing manpower at all restaurant cctv in the area. Rioting being hungry work after all, then using this additional evidence to make pre-emptive arrests inside the eatery's before people mask up for another nights mayhem.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    couls gamers care less, really?

    Gamers are the very definition of entitlement.

    Oh yeah, many sez is politically engaged, but the fact is, they are what they are, merely for vicarious pleasure, though a simulated environment, and their participation in anything that requires some real commitment is not what they do - or they wouldn't be gamers, capishe?

    A career? a life partner? an actual, gasp, family to care for? actual social, political action?

    Nope.

    This kid is totally an outlier, and Blizzard knows his clients, and knows VERY well that they will pretend to be enraged, but not as enraged as the delay for Halo 3 was. I'll bet you 150,000 WoW gold for an upvote, that this is totally forgotten in less than two weeks. Anon because a cowards, right.

    1. RunawayLoop

      Re: couls gamers care less, really?

      A huge demographic of 'gamers' are now middle aged or older. Having careers, life partners, families, bought and sold property and are interested in politics.

      Gaming didn't begin with millennials.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: couls gamers care less, really?

        Those middle agers are divorced three times (amazing they got married to begin with), living in their mommas basements again, hiding from child support mayments. ya, afraid of them truths you are

        1. CliveS
          Mushroom

          Re: couls gamers care less, really?

          "Those middle agers are divorced three times (amazing they got married to begin with), living in their mommas basements again, hiding from child support mayments. ya, afraid of them truths you are"

          This one is over 50, still married after 23 years to their first wife, living in a house they own mortgage free, with two children at university, and a 30+ year career in IT. Maybe *you* should consider coming out from under the bridge, growing a pair and not hiding behind AC (and your momma's skirts). You might discover a broad and diverse world if you opened your eyes, rather than remaining a contemptible, blinkered fool

          1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: couls gamers care less, really?

            I'm about to celebrate 8 years of marriage, I've got 2 kids, a mortgage that I pay and gaming rig that costs thousands (from this years bonus). I spend time with my kids doing homework, I spend weekends going around doing general family things and meet friends in pubs for a drink periodically.

            I've been paying taxes for the jobs I've had since I left college at the turn of the century and whilst I do have a basement, my computer spends it's days in my study room (and isn't played half as much as I would like).

            As for politics, I'm very interested in politics. It affects the work I do for one of the world's largest telcos.

            Things have moved on since the 80s that you seem to fondly wish for, and those kind of ideas of gamers are woefully out of date.

            I bet you're the sort that thinks we only play fps games screaming abuse about your mother and sexual preferences? If so, please grow up and don't pretend to know better than the vast majority of other register commenters who whilst opinionated and cynical, understand that politics, computers and games are more complex and related than would seem by a quick glance at the daily mail online.

        2. Mooseman Silver badge

          Re: couls gamers care less, really?

          Over 50, married for 22 years, 2 children, mortgage free, and yes, I play games, AC.

        3. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: couls gamers care less, really?

          Two kids, partner of about ten years, own my own house (well, the bank owns some of it), have a permanent job, don't have a basement. Never divorced. Apart from that, you are spot on.

        4. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: couls gamers care less, really?

          I'm now 49, and have been playing since I was 9.

          Still married to the same person after being with them over 20 years, own my own home and don't even have a basement.

          You're an idiot.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            yOur favorite ElReg Troll speaketh

            Respect to all of you in solid marriages.

            answering Sir Runcible Spoon, one that correctly diagnosed me. An idiot, I am.

            Let me tell you, kind sirs (no women commentards in solid marriages?), my story.

            I married 14 years ago. Our ring bearer a cute 11-year old, dreams, looking forward to life, very bright. Two years later parents divorced, father refused to do something about his online porn. I guess it was his right, left? The guy had a great job, which he lost a couple years later, had achieved his fancy degree in a fancy university by having the wife work two jobs. AFAIK hasn't worthwhile employment since. The boy went live with dad. I met him like 6 years later, the kid stinking, not having washed weeks.

            Gamer.

            All, day, night. Did he ever get a high school diploma? meaningless and they hand like cookies, I doubt it. Last I heard last year he was going for a GED, not even that.

            Some mild substance abuse, enough to lose all respect of himself, or jobs.

            Eventually good old dad kicked him out. Mom has taken him in again. Again to rehab, and again.

            Been in rehab at least three times, he look great in pictures "after".

            They all our best friends, though I knew dad little, peculiar individual, a wise guy more than a wise man.

            Whenever advertising for games praising "addictive" as a good thing, I just know what really means.

            You men who say you can balance life, a family and gaming, more power to you.

            Do you sincerely, I mean, really sincerely dare affirm looking in my empty anonymous coward eyes that you are like the majority of gamers?

            Allow me to assume, based on scant evidence, that reality is more like I have described it.

            Latest I heard, kid is still gaming, somewhat clean, mother is school teacher, father never heard of again.

            I wish he was like you.

            BTW, I can write good - errors purpose to avoid style similar to my real name postings. I upvote you, even if you break number one rule, never feed the troll......

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: yOur favorite ElReg Troll speaketh

              Look, I'd be lying if I said that gaming addiction has never been a problem, but it's something you eventually master.

              Broken homes and escapism are always going to go hand in hand, along with substance abuse, but that's just symptoms, not a cause.

              Do some people flush their lives down the toilet and play games 24/7, sure, but that doesn't mean being a gamer automatically results in a wasted life.

            2. llaryllama

              Re: yOur favorite ElReg Troll speaketh

              Gaming is an easy scapegoat for just being a shit dad. I will never claim to be anywhere near a perfect parent but life is about balance and we all do OK. I play games together with my two boys, it's definitely more positive for the family than negative. Yes I sometimes sit on my arse with a beer playing Battlefield 4 for an hour that could be better spend doing other things but we all need our downtime once a week.

              I don't spend much time solo gaming any more but my family would probably say I spend way too much time playing violin, we should definitely ban all string instruments for the sake of the children.

        5. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: couls gamers care less, really?

          62, married just shy of 31 years, two adult kids, divorced once, full-time job doing firmware development (been here 11 years), renting half a duplex.

          Not hiding from anything. Not even trolls.

      2. llaryllama

        Re: couls gamers care less, really?

        Especially since AAA titles are all $60+ these days with subscriptions needed to play online it's us middle aged geezers propping up the sales.

    2. FuzzyWuzzys

      Re: couls gamers care less, really?

      My wife of 30 years and I both play games, mostly RPGs upon which we dicuss in game tactics, we often spend time watching each other during game session. Our daughter just passed her exams with top marks and has gone on to further study, a mark of the care and devotion we've shown her and her interests. We're mortgage free before 50 and we have our own business selling photographic prints and licenses, oh and I'm also an author of several outdoor photography books which I wrote in between working a full time IT job, spending time with my family and playing games.

      I watched a relative die of a stroke in front of me 20 years ago and it taught me that you only get one life and it can be taken in a split second. So you carry on wasting your hate on others Mr AC, 'cos one day you may wake up and realise you wasted your limited and very precious time on this earth and that's the real tragedy.

    3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: couls gamers care less, really?

      40, amicably divorced, own my house outright, one kid.

      I learnt how to configure, repair and support PCs because I played games on them. I got my network chops setting up LAN parties. I've gotten countless jobs and customers from gaming connections. I would not have an IT career without gaming connections.

      My PFY cut her teeth making minecraft servers on a paper round budget. She put it on her CV. Builds the most reliable boxes. Better than me, but don't tell her I said that.

      IT often feels like my hobby turned career. If Elite 2 hadn't required me editing autoexec.bat and config.sys then I'd have never been put in charge of the blinken lights.

  9. RunawayLoop

    Blizzard is now on my banned list.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I upvoted you to show respect for your strong stance for them principles of democracy. We can all sleep better now that you are there to watch for justice and the happiness for all

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        One drop

        Is unnoticeable, a few hundreds is sign and millions is a flood. It has to start somewhere, and I shall be joining him In removing blizzard from my computers (shame as I was working back through star craft but I've got others).

      2. Mooseman Silver badge

        Learn basic grammar. "those" not "them"

        1. RedCardinal

          You would do well to remember - no one likes a smart arse

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Coat

            I've heard that thick-arse's especially don't like them

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            no one likes a smart arse

            I do, particularly when the alternative is a dumb one.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Core values

    "Blizzard's clearly stated “core values” – values it feels so strongly about that it had all eight of them cast in bronze and placed around a statue at its headquarters in California"

    Blizzard should have cut the bullshit and just had a bronze cast made of a dollar bill. (or in this case a Chinese Yuan)

  11. prinz

    Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

    No amount of PR will undo the blatant demonstration of what they value and what they do not.

    They are an American company, why are they ashamed of American rights - like Freedom of Speech?

    They had a choice - promote China's values or American values. They chose China's.

    That's all we need to know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

      much courages, many valiantness. Have a medal, son.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

        much courages, many valiantness. Have a medal, son

        says the anonymous coward

      2. Tony Paulazzo

        Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

        Why so anonymous? You won't get your good citizen points that way, plus, China won't let you be anonymous - or visit many parts of the internet, or read Winnie the Pooh, or watch Southpark <now>. Let me guess, you're tencents, insidiously buying up western companies to ensure they tow the Chinese party line.

        Fucking coward!

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

          Why so anonymous?

          The better to rake in the downvotes. It's a troll.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

        "much courages, many valiantness. Have a medal, son."

        And will you take your 50 cents AC?

        Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party

        El Reg: perhaps an article on new commentards in the last ~12 hours commenting only on articles relating to China would be of interest to the wider IT community. Things like total numbers, number of times they comment on an article, collections of quotes from some of the more prolific commentators, whether there are any shared attributes (i.e. common source country or maybe even same ISP/IP address). When the methods become more widely known....

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

          Replace Flame of the Week with Astroturf of the Week you mean?

          I'd actually be genuinely interested to see someone technically competent do it. There are times on places like The Guardian forums where I've seen comments (about the Russian invasion of Ukraine for example) that look to me like the old Russian Internet Research Agency out to play, but equally it could just be people trolling. Or genuine Russians who feel rather differently about what happened, and want to express themselves - and have a nice online argument about it.

          It would be nice to have more information, rather than just having to guess.

          1. theOtherJT

            Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

            I second that. The ACs in this thread are coming across particularly like agenda pushing paid "activists"... but then that could be me projecting on something I have strong feelings about. Actual data would be not only extremely interesting, but also might help balance some of my personal prejudices here.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

              I remember having some fascinating online discussions with a Serbian guy. 20 years ago on Hattrick (online footy game where I was a forum Mod). There were some actually pretty polite forums on there - as long as you weren't on at pub kicking out time on a Friday night...

              He described himself politically as a liberal and anti-Milosovic. But as far as he was concerned Western media was all just propoganda, the same as Serb media had been until recently. It was interesting because we had some quite long discussions and what was clear was how little we could even understand each others' political positions. I remember him saying that Kosovo couldn't possibly be allowed independence, however bad recent Serb rule had been, because of the Battle of Pristina in 1389 - as this made it sacred Serb soil never to be relinquished.

              So while I've seen some pretty obvious trolling, and some of it being so similar that it's obviously organised - I'm also aware that there are some people who are genuinely way more nationalistic than I can easily comprehend. And nuance in online arguments is already at a premium. So if you're an english-speaking Chinese nationalist who believes (and has been taught) that your country has been systematically victimised for 200 years - you might well get a bit troll-y online at any opportunity.

  12. cirby

    Oh well.

    I've spent a lot of money on Blizzard games over the years - with WoW subscriptions, it's well over the thousand dollar mark. I recently resubbed to play Wow Classic.

    Today, I cancelled my subscription to WoW and deleted all of their games from my computer, and I've seen other people doing the same today.

    Let's see how well that China decision works out for Blizzard...

    1. Jedit

      "Today, I deleted all of their games from my computer"

      I'm seeing streamers doing the same thing. Lets' hope this spreads.

      (I'm not deleting the games though. I already paid for Diablo 3 and for the Hearthstone solo content, they've already got my money so I'd only be hurting myself. They just won't get any more of it for a while.)

    2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oh well.

      Is this the WoW killer everyone was trying to find, 5-10 years ago ?

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    0.10

    All this fuss over Huawei when Tencent is already manipulating what people see in games and movies.

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: 0.10

      All this fuss about Huawei when US companies do exactly the same, but 'Murica, right?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 0.10

        "All this fuss about Huawei when US companies do exactly the same, but 'Murica, right?"

        The security concerns over Huawei have been poorly expressed - while I have no doubts they have bugs in equipment that allow remote access (most if not all of their competitors have these and there is nothing to suggest that Huawei's software development methods are immune from these issues) it relies on FUD that is difficult to demonstrate and relatively easy to prove is the status quo.

        The real fuss about Chinese companies is that China is number one in all decisions - if this doesn't affect you fine. Until it does. Disney, the NBA and now Blizzard are examples of that impact with issues around Taiwan and Hong Kong.

        What happens if there is a larger regional issue such as a territory issue in the South China Sea?

  14. sbt Silver badge
    Megaphone

    The dangers of speech filtered by corporate interests

    The issue here is not what he said. It happens I agree with him and you can check my other posts on the CCP if you don't believe me.

    It's that he needed to use a corporately controlled platform to say it when the broadly written conditions of entry, written to suit the authors and interpreted on the whim of the corporation, banned it. His forfeit was civil, not criminal. I could wish corporations would stay out of these issues, but they are obliged to act in the best interests of their shareholders. A boycott of a substantial market is not done lightly. They Streisanded the ever-loving f*ck out of this one, though.

    Corporations are not responsible for providing people with a platform for their speech.

    The danger is if the public square is subsumed into a series of corporate spaces and all our public interactions happen on private platforms, we'll lose freedom to corporations and governments.

    We should return to the distributed Web with local site operators. Run your own servers, folks.

    1. Loatesy

      Re: The dangers of speech filtered by corporate interests

      Free speech is free speech, no matter where you are or what the platform. That's why there are such things as public protests held in the most inconvenient of places -

      WHERE.

      PEOPLE>

      MEET>

      Is it any wonder that such protests take place on on-line forums and webcasts and such?

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Stop

        Free speech, no matter where you are or what the platform.

        No, free speech does not mean anyone needs to provide you with a live-stream, forum post or blog page. These are private spaces, open to the public, like malls, rather than parks. They're privately owned and controlled.

        In the public realm, on the "commons", no one owes you a soapbox, a crowd, or any attention, either.

        It just means you can stand on street corners with a sandwich board, or hand out leaflets or visit Speaker's Corner in your nearest park without the threat of violence or restraint. It doesn't give you the right to step into traffic or obstruct or harrass people, though. If you want to stay on-line where the people meet, you can run your own Web site, or send out e-mail newletters. Speech is made of words, not actions. Arguments are won with facts, not fists.

        If you don't have free speech, then first you may need to reform or overthrow your government. This may involve loud, disruptive protests and is legitimate. This is where the CCP falls down. By suppressing free speech and democracy, they legitimise revolution.

        Is any wonder that such protests take place on on-line forums...

        No surprise that people try. Just don't expect corporates with competing loyalties (e.g. profit) to provide those platforms freely.

  15. Steve Button

    No more Overwatch for me then

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Blizzard_Entertainment_games

  16. pavel.petrman Bronze badge

    Some saying they would stop playing the company’s games...

    ... and some, a tiny fraction of them, will actually do. For the rest, life goes on, the same as with Facebook zucking around with everything they can get on their users, Twitter selling phone numbers and Google privatizing the whole internet for themselves. And when the inevitable redacted hits the fan those who said they would stop would inevitably come after those who did with the historically proven "but come on help us out". Popcorn, anyone?

  17. 9Rune5
    Big Brother

    Huawei to the rescue?

    Freedom-loving Apple caught flack after if banned an app called HKmap

    It would be interesting if said app (or type of app) was available to users of Huawei's handsets...

    Anyone know the story there? Can a handset maker ban individual Google Play apps? I understand the newest Huawei handset doesn't even come with Google Play pre-installed, but what about older models?

  18. steviebuk Silver badge

    Blizzard

    Has turned to shit. Not that I ever played WoW but know people that did. When they said, despite all the knock off servers showing otherwise, that "You don't want WoW Classic" and then being totally wrong as now they've released it, everyone is on it again. Blizzard seemed to have lost the plot and don't give two shits to their customers and gamers anymore, who, after all, are what keep them alive.

  19. John70

    Blizzcon

    What are the odds that someone at Blizzcon in November will do a protest speech during open mike sessions?

    Will there be "Red Shirt Guy 2.0" ?

    1. Grooke

      Re: Blizzcon

      It would be 3.0.

      2.0 was "is this an out of season April Fool's joke?" over Diablo Immortal.

      1.0 was correcting staff regarding Falstad's death (or lack thereof).

  20. alain williams Silver badge

    Bringing Blizzard “into public disrepute"

    That was not Chung Ng Wai, it was the Blizzard executives who banned him: selling their souls to mammon.

    Unfortunately what has happened will be quickly forgotten by most, but future competition gamers will self-censor to avoid the same fate. As so often evil wins.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,”

    while I subscribe to at least the first part of the above, this is such a monstrously unrealistic declaration... but then, what else do you expect in the age of one liners? :(

    1. _LC_ Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,”

      You could've gotten it "cheap" only a few years ago. Had the Chinese not bailed out Hong Kong during the bank crisis that little spec of earth would've looked up to Haiti by now. ;-)

    2. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      Re: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,”

      Perhaps he anticipated that the stream would be cut within seconds of his statement, and worded it accordingly into the briefest possible expression of support?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "a unilateral decision in the last week by Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam to this week ban them."

    There's that thing about that: this was possible thanks to a British law, not because of Chinese authoritarianism.

    Seriously, the British bitching about what China is doing to HK make me uncomfortable. You guys colonized Honk Kong and kept it for what, 150 years? And yet, it was never a democracy, was it? They never had the rights of mainland British citizens, not even the right to relocate to the UK when it was given back to China.

    So blasting China, all good. Forgetting the part you had in creating the current situation, much less so.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Stop

      AC, here's some info from a 2 min Wiki search

      "After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Executive Councillors and the Legislative Councillors of Hong Kong unexpectedly held an urgent meeting, in which they agreed unanimously that the British Government should give the people of Hong Kong the right of abode in the United Kingdom.[33]

      More than 10,000 Hong Kong residents rushed to Central in order to get an application form for residency in the United Kingdom. On the eve of the deadline, over 100,000 lined up overnight for a British National (Overseas) application form. While mass migration began well before 1989, the event led to the peak migration year in 1992 with 66,000 leaving.[34] "

      So yes, right to relocate was allowed.

      As for the executive law implemented, yes that was british but it hadnt been used for over 60 years. It should have been repealed definitely, but I guess it had been forgotten since it hadnt been used for so long.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That is Wikipedia. Now, please compare to what the actual British government says:

        "Rights as a British national (overseas)

        [...]

        However, you:

        are subject to immigration controls and do not have the automatic right to live or work in the UK"

        https://www.gov.uk/types-of-british-nationality/british-national-overseas

        So, 2nd class citizens, with definitely no right to relocate to the UK. That's compared to Macau, where Portugal did give real, regular, Schengen passports before leaving.

        I know that from having been to Hong Kong and met actual Hong Kong people, many of which are careful to hold onto their Portuguese passport obtained through family connections to Macau. The BNO passports are worthless.

        As for the law, it was last used in 1967, and HK went back to China in 1997. So the argument "it had not been used for so long" does not hold water. When the UK was in charge, it definitely was not so long ago. Since you are able to remember the Tian'anmen events of 1989 today, they could very well remember the 1967 riots at that point.

        And the part about not establishing democracy? What's the excuse, also forgot about it because it had been so long?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sun Tzu said that the supreme excellence consists of defeating your enemy without fighting.

    Guess what, we are ruled from Beijing now.

  24. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
  25. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Blizzard Entertainment cuts punishment for HK gamer in protests row

    Blizzard Entertainment cuts punishment for HK gamer in protests row

    “I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision,” he said in a post on Blizzard’s website.

    BULL5H1T!

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