When it comes to making money from video games, you want to give people what they want. However, as we have learned in the recent month of October 2019. It seems what these companies are all about to have come to light. This is nothing new since companies are a business and they want to make the most capital. It’s not wrong to make money but it is how you make your money.
In the early parts of October China removed NBA broadcasts from public TV. This happened when the Coach of the Antonia Spurs supported the protesters in China. The NBA didn’t seem to take a stand on either the China repercussion or what the coach said. This put more of a spotlight on the censorship of the people in China and all the protesters. The reason I bring this up in a gaming article is this is happening in the gaming scene as well. A popular Hearthstone player, Wai Chung went on an interview because he won the grand championship. He won $10,000 and got to be interviewed, via camera to camera. In this interview, he went off the camera and came back wearing a protest mask. This was in support of the protesters in China and said: “Liberate Hong Kong.” Fearing backlash the people who were interviewing him ducked behind their desk. When this was found out by China, they began contacting Blizzard, the company that owns Hearthstone. In response Blizzard banned Wai for a year from any of their games and took his money.
In trying to win back their American audience, they gave a response. In the response, they said they banned Wai for being too political. This statement seemed confusing since people have been poetical before Wai but was not banned. The public did not respond well as #boycottblizzard was trending on Twitter. People are canceling subscriptions to classic “WOW” (World Of Warcraft) and preorders for the new “Call Of Duty; Modern Warfare.” In response Blizzard reduced the time of Wai’s ban to six months and gave him his money back. This may stay off some fans, but Blizzard’s fans‘ morals are being tested.
The reason Blizzard doesn’t want to offend the Chinese government is that it is a huge or maybe the biggest moneymaker in the world. According to Wikipedia the Chinese gaming market is about 25% of the total gaming market and made $100 billion dollars or more in 2018. In fact, it’s called The Gaming Capital Of The World. Blizzard is an American company and when they bowed to China the American customer of Blizzard saw this as immoral. It will take time for Blizzard to recover and to be trusted by their customer base in my opinion. When you choose money over morals in the open like this, the result is you will get burned and Blizzard got burned. In fact, if you want respect back Blizzard here is what you should do. Let go of the ban of Wai and the people interviewing him who had nothing to do with it. Stand up for your customers in your home country and not bow to China’s demands. They won’t make as much money but they won’t have a problem with their home audience. Blizzard could have handled this better if they hadn’t had such a quick recreation of this display of anti-tyranny.
You can sell games to other countries and still be proud of your country. The Witcher franchise comes to mind as it was sold as a cultural product. It was so important to Poland they gave The Witcher 2 to Barack Obama. When The Witcher 3 came out it was criticized for being racist for having mostly white people in it. The Witcher is based on a book and Nordic/Polish Mythology which is a society of white people. Despite this criticism, it was highly reviewed and sold well. People have respect for other gaming companies when they stand for their beliefs when they have done nothing wrong in the first place.