Dietrofront di Blizzard: ridotte le penalità per Blitzchung!

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Le enormi pressioni evidentemente ricevute da ogni angolo del mondo, hanno infine spinto Blizzard a rivedere la sua posizione nella recente vicenda della squalifica di Blitzchung, giocatore asiatico di Hearthstone squalificato dai Grandmasters per aver manifestato solidarietà ai manifestanti di Hong Kong, durante una diretta streaming ufficiale.

Nelle ultime ore si erano andati decisamente ad accumulare i numerosi interventi da parte di altrettanti esperti del settore (la redazione di Powned compresa), per i quali la pena di un anno di squalifica e la revoca di tutti i premi in denaro fin qui vinti fosse eccessivamente forte, e che sarebbe forse bastata anche una semplice sanzione per aver infranto l’articolo 6.1 del regolamento.

Da Riot alla NBA, la questione “Hong Kong” è ormai universale!

La protesta verso questa decisione di Blizzard ha riguardato direttamente anche molti membri dello staff dell’azienda, alcuni dei quali hanno manifestato il loro dissenso nel campus della società, in California, attraverso un sit-in, mentre altri come ThatsAdmirable (qui l’approfondimento) ed il celebre Kibler annunciavano le loro “dimissioni” dal cast e dalla presentazione degli Hearthstone Grandmasters.

Brian Kibler annuncia: “non casterò gli Hearthstone Grandmasters”

La situazione si è incredibilmente inasprita durante la serata di ieri, quando Epic Games, attraverso il suo fondatore Tim Sweeney, annunciava che “Epic sostiene i diritti dei giocatori e dei creatori di Fortnite nel parlare di politica e diritti umani” (qui l’approfondimento), smontando cosi le teorie di molti fan per le quali dietro la decisione di Blizzard vi era l’ingerenza della società cinese Tencent (che possiede il 5% di Blizzard, ma una fetta decisamente più sostanziosa – 40% – di Epic Games).

Alla fine Blizzard, attraverso un intervento pubblicato dal Presidente J. Allen Brack, ha quindi deciso di rivedere la pena inflitta, ripristinando le vincite ottenute da Blitzchung e riducendo la sua squalifica a sei mesi…un pacchetto punitivo che continua a restare molto duro ma anche decisamente meno sproporzionato rispetto a quello passato.

Blitzchung squalificato dai Grandmasters per il movimento “Liberate Hong Kong”

Di sei mesi resta effettiva anche la pena per i due caster ufficiali della trasmissione che vennero originariamente squalificati insieme a Blitzchung, per lo stesso motivo del giocatore. Nel messaggio, il Presidente Brack fa autocritica, ed afferma che la decisione è stata certamente presa con troppa rapidità, ed è risultata essere troppo grave; Brack ha però voluto anche ribadire un altro concetto, ovvero sia quello per il quale dietro la decisione (la prima, quella della squalifica per un anno, ndr) non è stata in alcun modo influenzata dalle relazioni che l’azienda ha con la Cina.

“Free Hong Kong”: polemiche per la vicenda Blizzard, ed alcuni dipendenti si ribellano!

Cosa ne pensate community? La questione poteva decisamente finire meglio (e potrebbe ancora avere degli sviluppi, chissà), e speriamo che il caos generato dalla “Questione Grandmasters” aiuti l’intero ecosistema esports a regolamentare meglio, e con maggiore chiarezza/precisione, il sistema di penalità e di squalifiche attualmente presenti nel settore.

Il messaggio ufficiale

Hello Blizzard Community . . .

I want to take a few minutes to talk to all of you about the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament this past weekend. On Monday, we made the decision to take action against a player named blitzchung and two shoutcasters after the player shared his views on what’s happening in Hong Kong on our official broadcast channel.

At Blizzard, our vision is “to bring the world together through epic entertainment.” And we have core values that apply here: Think Globally; Lead Responsibly; and importantly, Every Voice Matters, encouraging everybody to share their point of view. The actions that we took over the weekend are causing people to question if we are still committed to these values. We absolutely are and I will explain.

Our esports programs are an expression of our vision and our values. Esports exist to create opportunities for players from around the world, from different cultures, and from different backgrounds, to come together to compete and share their passion for gaming. It is extremely important to us to protect these channels and the purpose they serve: to bring the world together through epic entertainment, celebrate our players, and build diverse and inclusive communities.

As to how those values apply in this case:

First, our official esports tournament broadcast was used as a platform for a winner of this event to share his views with the world.

We interview competitors who are at the top of their craft to share how they feel. We want to experience that moment with them. Hearing their excitement is a powerful way to bring us together.

Over the weekend, blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong—in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action.

Every Voice Matters, and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game.

Second, what is the role of shoutcasters for these broadcasts?

We hire shoutcasters to amplify the excitement of the game. They elevate the watchability and help the esports viewing experience stay focused on the tournament and our amazing players.

Third, were our actions based on the content of the message?

Part of Thinking Globally, Leading Responsibly, and Every Voice Matters is recognizing that we have players and fans in almost every country in the world. Our goal is to help players connect in areas of commonality, like their passion for our games, and create a sense of shared community.

The specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.

We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and on the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took.

If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same.

OK, what could Blizzard have done better, and where do we go from here?

Over the past few days, many players, casters, esports fans, and employees have expressed concerns about how we determined the penalties. We’ve had a chance to pause, to listen to our community, and to reflect on what we could have done better. In hindsight, our process wasn’t adequate, and we reacted too quickly.

We want to ensure that we maintain a safe and inclusive environment for all our players, and that our rules and processes are clear. All of this is in service of another important Blizzard value—Play Nice; Play Fair.

In the tournament itself blitzchung *played* fair. We now believe he should receive his prizing. We understand that for some this is not about the prize, and perhaps for others it is disrespectful to even discuss it. That is not our intention.

But playing fair also includes appropriate pre-and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. When we think about the suspension, six months for blitzchung is more appropriate, after which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses. There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast.

With regard to the casters, remember their purpose is to keep the event focused on the tournament. That didn’t happen here, and we are setting their suspension to six months as well.

Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament rules to ensure our official broadcasts remain focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views.

One of our goals at Blizzard is to make sure that every player, everywhere in the world, regardless of political views, religious beliefs, race, gender, or any other consideration always feels safe and welcome both competing in and playing our games.

At Blizzard, we are always listening and finding ways to improve—it is part of our culture. Thank you for your patience with us as we continue to learn.

Sincerely,

J. Allen Brack
President of Blizzard Entertainment

Marco "Stak" Cresta

Sono un appassionato di videogiochi fin da quando ne abbia ricordo e credo nella bontà del progresso che scaturirà grazie agli eSports anche a livello sociale. L'altra mia grande passione è da sempre stata l'attualità e la storia, motivo per il quale ho concluso il mio percorso di studi con la laurea in Scienze Politiche nell'Università calabrese di Cosenza.