A leading US digital rights organization is joining the fight against leading video game companies that may seek to censor players for expressing support for Hong Kong protesters protesting Chinese influence over the past 27 weeks ,
On Thursday, Fight for the Future launched the website Gamers for Freedom a tool that allows gamers to send messages to video game companies who would rather gain access to the Chinese consumer market than gamblers the opportunity to give sustained protests to openly support democracy in Hong Kong Kong.
The site contains a petition and information about which video game developers have expressly expressed their opinion in favor of freedom of speech and which are not. Alternative games are also recommended for those who want to participate in boycotts.
The conflict between players and developers ignited after Activision Blizzard, the maker of games such as Overwatch Diablo and World of Warcraft suspended a professional Hearthstone Player from Hong Kong. Chung "Lightning" Ng Wai appeared in a gas mask of a Taiwanese occupation and demanded the liberation of his city .
Blizzard's reaction has been criticized by players around the world. Relying on a vague formulation against behavior that "publicly discredits" players or otherwise "damages Blizzard's image," the company removed Blitzchung from the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters competition and lifted its prize money, which is about $ 10,000 Equivalent to US dollars.
Fallout was fast. While #BoycottBlizzard was a global trend on Twitter, the trading card legend and hearthstone commentator Brian Kibler issued a statement declaring Blizzard's response "incredibly harsh" and announcing that that he would no longer be involved in the grandmasters competition.
"The harshness of feeling that someone insisted that Blizzard set an example for flashiness not only to keep others from similar actions in the future, but also to reassure those who are upset about the outbreak itself," wrote Kibler.
As Polygon first reported other players decided to punish Blizzard by attempting to ban one of its products in China Let's turn the Overwatch character into Mei-Ling Zhou of Xi'an, China, into a pro-democracy meme that quickly became viral. A small group of Blizzard employees staged a strike Wednesday at the company's headquarters in Irvine, California .
About 12 percent or $ 173 million Blizzard's second-quarter earnings came from the Asia-Pacific region, according to the company.
"Blizzard has pursued an obvious censorship and should act immediately to lift Ng Wai Chung's ban, restore his tournament winnings, and repair relationships with livestream casters," said Dayton Young, Product Director, Fight for the Future. "No player should be punished for expressing his views on politics and human rights. And no game company should ban or punish players if they stand up for their own political freedom. "
Young added," Players deserve to know which companies are willing to censor in the name of authoritarian regimes, and which companies defend freedom of choice. We therefore urge all game developers and publishers to stand up for the rights their customers, employees and fans.
The protests in Hong Kong, which have become increasingly violent have been triggered in recent weeks in March by a bill to extradite persons to mainland China and Taiwan. The demonstrations were estimated at around 1.7 million people last month and have intensified on charges of misconduct by the Hong Kong police. Economic and social inequality are also a driving force.