Activision’s propery, Blizzard Inc. is facing an unprecedented backlash and calls for a boycott after a sector of the American game developer punished a player for making comment on and supporting Hong Kong’s protest movement, the latest cultural meltdown between the U.S. and China.
As if it could be worse, in response to the backlash, Blizzard has disabled the ability to close or delete one’s own account to keep players booked in their system indefinitely. This move, presumably, was made to prevent players from effectively boycotting Blizzard.
However, the gaming retail giant GameStop knows well that this is not the case. Reports from daily sales estimates and stock market projections show that Gamestop is suffering from a massive loss. Reports indicate that a massive spike in trade-in transactions is to blame with the top trade-ins worldwide being Blizzard titles such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and more.
One of our PR experts turned stock market analyst for the day received an anonymous inquiry from GameStop after sending out a question about the losses. The response is passionate, but gives a clear insight into the problem.
The cause of the trade-in epidemic is obvious. Players are pissed off at Blizzard, Blizzard disabled the ability to close your account. Next reasonable step of a boycott would be to get rid of their product. Blizzard’s games are coming back to our stores in droves because they decided that money meant more than people. Ng spoke his mind, and Blizzard decided to protect their asset in China. Why wouldn’t Blizzard call out the issue in China and say to hell with it? We’re an American company. Our product started here. Ng has ended up here. Is he less American than anybody else?Anonymous Feedback from GameStop Market Support
In addition to the massive trade-in dillema, the Blizzard titles are just not selling their usual numbers. A GameStop in Cranberry Township, PA has said that it only sold 6 Blizzard titles today, all of which were a copy of Overwatch. This GameStop says that the low average for Blizzard titles ranges between 207-219, or a 5th of daily sales in the M.O.M. (Massive Online Multiplayer) category for Playstation 4.
What on Earth caused such an uproar? As summed up by our friend from GameStop, it’s a terrible case of Made in China.
Blizzard Entertainment banned Hong Kong native tournament champion Ng Wai Chung, better referred to as Blitzchung, from its Grandmasters E-Sports competition for a year and withheld his prize money; already won, after he used a quip from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Players and fans around the world immediately responded with outrage and hysteria over what they view as heavy-handed punishment and a blatant kneel to Chinese Censorship.
Hong Kong’s protests have sparked massive clashes between Beijing and the rest of the world. The National Basketball Association was involved in controversy after the general manager of the Houston Rockets expressed support for the protesters, leading China’s broadcasters to blackout NBA games and local companies to drop Rockets products. Apple Inc. was blasted by the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper for carrying an app and song embraced by the movement; as if it’s willing and not coincidental.
The Blizzard incident began when Ng — dressed in a gas mask and goggles in defiance of authorities’ ban on face masks — used the phrase “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” during a post-match interview. Blizzard, developer of games like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, said in a statement it instituted the ban to “prevent similar incidents” in the future. On the China microblogging site Weibo, Blizzard’s statement in Chinese was: “We will, as always, resolutely safeguard the country’s dignity.”
“You screwed up and traded your players in for dollars,” he tweeted. “There is keeping politics out of games, then there is grand standing to appease the Chinese Communist Party.”
“As you know, there are serious protests in my country now,” Ng said in a statement to gaming blog Inven Global. “My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention.”
— Mark Kern (@Grummz) October 9, 2019
Activision Blizzard has tie-ups with Chinese gaming houses Tencent Holdings Ltd. and NetEase Inc. to distribute — and in some cases co-develop — new entries in beloved franchises like Call of Duty and Diablo in the world’s biggest video game market and beyond.
One player explained how much they enjoyed playing Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, but would be stepping back from it and joining the boycott.
“I hit level 45 tonight so when I read the news I was extremely sad,” the person wrote. “I can put up with a lot, but if it’s someone’s freedom or my money, I will gladly give up my favorite game so that others can have the same freedoms I enjoy.”
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