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Blizzard Bends Knee To China

10 Oct 2019, 05:24 AM
#1
avatar of SturmtigerCobra
Patrion 310

Posts: 702 | Subs: 12

Blizzard 2018: Don't You guys have phones?
Blizzard 2019: Don't You guys have human rights?


This news story is going viral outside just gaming community and is a bigger mess for Blizzard than Diablo Immortal. Also some credit to pcgaming subreddit:

Thank you /r/pcgaming mods for allowing discussions on China while other subreddits remove everything wholesale. You're the best:
https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/dfkicf/thank_you_rpcgaming_mods_for_allowing_discussions/

YouTuber News:
Bellular News | Blizz PANIC | Staff PROTEST, Further Dissent QUASHED! CEO's Cowardly Silence:

YongYea | Blizzard Defends China "Pride", Gets Slammed By US Senators, Epic Games, College Players, & More!:

Laymen Gaming | Blizzard Sells Out Democracy & Free Speech In Pursuit of Chinese Market:

LegacyKillaHD | US Lawmakers SLAM Blizzard, Boycott Grows, Epic Games Diss & Gamers Use Memes To Mock Blizzard/China:

AngryJoeShow | Blizzard done CENSORED Up! Hearthstone Player BANNED for HK Protest!:

Jim Sterling | Activision Blizzard Sides With Oppressive Chinese Government Against Protesting Hearthstone Player:

SidAlpha | Activision Blizzard and the Hearthstone Blitzchung Ban:

Tim Pool | China's Censorship Is Creeping Into America, Blizzard And NBA Bend The Knee To Communist China:


My personal take on this:
Within a relative short period of time, Activision Blizzard's leadership has gone from passion to greed to a spineless gaming corporation that now values Chinese money more than freedom.
On this important issue, the gaming community is getting bipartisan support within US which really shows Blizzard is on the wrong side of history.

Taiwan and Hong Kong have deep ties to the Chinese Kuomintang, which are pro-democracy and the forgotten WW2 heroes who helped the Allied forces win the war in Asia.
In a sharp contrast to Blizzard's cowardice look at how South Park (season 23 episode 2) responded to Chinese censorship within the entertainment industry. This news story going viral demonstrates the Streisand effect.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
The Streisand effect is a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.[1] It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased.[2]


‘South Park’ creators issue mocking ‘apology’ after China reportedly bans sitcom:


Also ongoing criminal investigation and this will shock the gaming industry if true:
overpaid gaming CEOs - check
Sexual Assault?
10 Oct 2019, 05:33 AM
#2
avatar of SturmTigerVorgo

Posts: 303

They bend the knee to money, like every other company. Their purpose is to make money not to take political sides.
10 Oct 2019, 05:40 AM
#3
avatar of ShadowLinkX37
Director of Moderation Badge

Posts: 3154 | Subs: 1

Fair warning to everyone:

You keep your replies to this post on relevent information and topics. Political topics such as Hong Kong's ongoing protests vs China are off limits.

This thread will be locked if it devolves into a political conversation.
10 Oct 2019, 10:37 AM
#4
avatar of AtomicRockets
Senior Moderator Badge

Posts: 748

After I saw the Hearthstone incident, I resolved to not touch any Blizzard games for the foreseeable future.

Which means I'll play CoH2 a lot more! :banana:
10 Oct 2019, 12:52 PM
#5
avatar of Felinewolfie

Posts: 777 | Subs: 4

After I saw the Hearthstone incident, I resolved to not touch any Blizzard games for the foreseeable future.

Which means I'll play CoH2 a lot more! :banana:


Same. +1
10 Oct 2019, 20:35 PM
#6
avatar of Artemixe

Posts: 8

Blizzard just wants money. What worries me is that governmental or supranational interests begin to use video games as a weapon of social engineering. As with movies, television series, some book publishers and media. For example, war thunder is partially funded by the Russian defense ministry. Video games can be used to influence younger generations.
I give you my money but make an attempt to demonize X culture or country in the video game where I invest my money. Now multiculturalism is in fashion by imposition, once I have seen strange discussions about videogames that I would parody in this way: Coh2 is racist because there are no models of African soldiers or transgender commanders xD
10 Oct 2019, 23:33 PM
#7
avatar of nigo
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Posts: 2117 | Subs: 16

17 Oct 2019, 04:17 AM
#8
avatar of SturmtigerCobra
Patrion 310

Posts: 702 | Subs: 12

Blizzard just wants money. What worries me is that governmental or supranational interests begin to use video games as a weapon of social engineering. As with movies, television series, some book publishers and media. For example, war thunder is partially funded by the Russian defense ministry. Video games can be used to influence younger generations.

Authoritarians fear what they can't control and Gen-Z gamers are now a political target whatever they like it or not.


China is a very rich country and has big undisclosed gold reserves from before WW2.
They are a former superpower and has good reasons to not trust the west nor Japan who tried steal their gold.
For some confirmation of Chinese gold look up Japanese WW2 military operation "Golden Lily":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamashita%27s_gold

Two-Thirds of Gen Z Males Say Gaming is a Core Component of Who They Are:
https://www.aaaa.org/gen-z-males-say-gaming-core-component-who-they-are/

Gaming/streaming to Gen-Z is what rock star music was to Gen-X/Babyboomer.
Rap music are glorifying the use of alcohol and violence more than other genres of music. The fact the legacy media/art industry tries to censor gaming and not rap music give a big clue of ulterior motives.

Gen-Z gamers listen more to gamers such as pewdiepie than legacy media.

sources:
https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/9-things-we-learned-from-the-2018-user-generated-content-ugc-report/513245/
https://www.tintup.com/blog/38-mind-blowing-stats-effectiveness-user-generated-content/


American free speech is alive and well just not within the legacy media.

For a deeper explanation watch this clip from longtime gamer Bill Whittle;
https://billwhittle.com/blizzard-bans-blitzchung-can-china-stand-against-a-world-of-virtual-warriors/
17 Oct 2019, 04:27 AM
#9
avatar of SturmtigerCobra
Patrion 310

Posts: 702 | Subs: 12

Fair warning to everyone:

You keep your replies to this post on relevent information and topics. Political topics such as Hong Kong's ongoing protests vs China are off limits.

This thread will be locked if it devolves into a political conversation.

To forum moderation:
I'll try to keep irrelevant politics out of my news posts.
To understand this Blizzard controversy see below argument from Thezipper100 which I fully agree with;
https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dgv8u7/i_would_like_to_thank_blizzard/
ElwoodJD
People who say “keep politics out of my (insert thing here)” are not only gutless but mindless. Politics pervasively shapes every aspect of our lives, and for those without the privilege of living in even a fairly democratic society it’s the equivalent of saying “I don’t want your suffering to ruin my good time.“

Thezipper100
I actually understand that viewpoint when it's irrelevant politics (I.E. bringing up the us' abysmal homelessness situation during a R6 match), as we use games to distract ourselves from this shithole of a world, especially shit we can't do much against.

However, Blizzard MADE this relevant. They pushed it in front of everyone and made it related and relevant, all while showing their higher ups as some of the worst scumbags imaginable.

That's what the people complaining about politics need to understand, it's relevant because of what blizzard did, and we can't just not mention it as it already has and will affect the game, blizzard, and us in the future.

During my CoH2.org radio silence I tried explain this coming war privately to Nigo as he was asking questions.
If need be, I see forum bans as a badge of honor. Feel free to move my news posts and if something is to controversial ask me to edit it. No personal attack with logical fallacies/shoot the messenger.
We are all on the same side sharing a hobby.

I suggest learning corporate doublespeak and a true grassroots movement without corporate overlords.
Be ready for a new internet era with virtual freedom/human right warriors not fake corporate narrative/npc mob that never was grassroots to begin with (controlled opposition).
Nothing can prevent this from snowballing.
Going against unalienable human rights and you'll be on the wrong side of history. It's not even left vs right, this is humanity vs corporate scumbags/crony capitalism/authoritarians. It's an international crisis that has been looming for decades and many insiders are watching this closely.
Activision Blizzard walked into a minefield and caught between a rock and a hard place.
17 Oct 2019, 04:30 AM
#10
avatar of SturmtigerCobra
Patrion 310

Posts: 702 | Subs: 12

Blizzard Bans More Esport Players To Save Face!
Damage Control & Hypocrisy Exposed

Blizzard: Every voice matters as long as you don't anger the Dragon Emperor!

Big News Story Today - Blizzard damage control
American University HS team received a six month ban from competition due to last week's "event" instead of no punishment:
https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dil847/american_university_hs_team_received_a_six_month/
https://www.reddit.com/r/Blizzard/comments/dilbga/american_university_hs_team_received_a_six_month/
Happy to announce the AU Hearthstone team received a six month ban from competition. While delayed I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules:
https://twitter.com/Xcelsior_hs/status/1184333609370619905

Esports Talk | Blizzard Issues Longest Ban EVER in Collegiate Esports to 3 Kids:

TheQuartering | Blizzard BANNED Them! Absolutely HILARIOUS! American Hearthstone Players Punished:

ReviewTechUSA | BLIZZARD DOES IT AGAIN! They Suspend ANOTHER Hearthstone Team!:


More YouTubers will likely cover this news story and I'll update accordingly.

Many players and YouTubers have criticized Blizzard for inconsistency and esport players not treated equally as no one being above the rules.
So finally Blizzard did the right thing with "impartial" enforcement but they continue to lie about China's growing influence and self-censorship within the company.
For good confirmation of China's growing influence go check Blizzard's Chinese social media account, Blizzard employees covers signs in protest, ex-Blizzard Mark Kern and Kibler's public statement as top Hearthstone caster.
There is also confirmation from a semi-anonymous interview with an oldschool Blizzard artist.
That is a current employee working there for more than 20+ years.
All Hail the Dragon Emperor!

Blizzard leadership is still making bad optics/PR.
This is the biggest international shitstorm since Star Wars Battlefront 2.
Is China's conglomerate bulldozing things with money? Blizzard hypocrisy exposed? Blizzard make Blitzchung into a martyr? Does capitalism come full circle? Buying cheap products from China is backfiring? This shitstorm has it all and more.

More Background Info
Blizzard employees covers signs in protest: https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/df4q51/blizzard_employees_covers_signs_in_protest/


Brian Kibler steps down from casting BlizzCon amid Blizzard's blitzchung handling:
Will not be casting the Hearthstone Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon
https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/9270/brian-kibler-steps-down-from-casting-blizzcon-amid-blizzards-blitzchung-handling

NPR Interview with Brian Kibler about Blizzard controversy (include Transcript):
https://twitter.com/bmkibler/status/1182815861842726912
https://www.npr.org/2019/10/11/769193142/international-politics-barges-into-the-world-of-video-games
*SNIP*
BRIAN KIBLER: Players who have gotten caught cheating in tournaments have received much smaller penalties that have come much later. And this was, you know, instantly.
KIBLER: China's a huge market for them. It makes up a enormous amount of their overall business. And I imagine it could have been very legitimately, like, at risk if they, you know, hadn't done something about this.
LIMBONG: It's not just a matter of potentially offending the Chinese government and the mainland audience. It's also about a huge Chinese holding company named Tencent. Tencent has a financial stake in a lot of gaming companies, including a share of Activision Blizzard and also Ubisoft, Epic Games - it owns all of Riot Games, which makes the popular League of Legends. Activision Blizzard and Tencent didn't get back to us for this story. Brian Kibler said that, sure, it could be a defensible business position to punish Blitzchung.

KIBLER: That doesn't mean that morally that this is the right stance to take, by any means.

LIMBONG: And a loud portion of the gaming world seems to agree. There's been a furious online response, with subscriptions being cancelled and boycott campaigns being launched against Activision Blizzard - all this right before the company's big convention called BlizzCon later this fall.

AU player here. We aren't being punished for the "Free Hong Kong" sign, and why that matters:
https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dg7d9m/au_player_here_we_arent_being_punished_for_the/
https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dg5pnt/blizzardtespa_has_decided_not_to_penalize/
https://twitter.com/Slasher/status/1182409678371934212

The Blizzard Interview:
Yesterday there was a semi-anonymous interview with an oldschool Blizzard artist.
20+ years with the company and claim he is one of the oldest Blizzard left..The interviewer (veemonro) vetted him and ex-Blizzard game designer Mark Kern know him.. Hopefully, he doesn’t get into big trouble as the interview was good.
The full interview has been removed from Youtube (I listen to most of it), Veemonro made a short summary:

Veemonro discord:
https://discordapp.com/channels/566277659135442955/566283340714606602
If anyone sees the full interview re-uploaded please let me know and/or download it.

A short clip from Blizzard interview re-uploaded:
Real-Time Likes Shadowbanning on Vee's Youtube (allegedly):

https://twitter.com/not__vee/status/1184025815639564289

This Blizzard employee agrees with the public suspicion that the recent Blizzard PR statement was partly written by Chinese writers. Also spotted by Mark Kern.

Blizzard President’s Apology Was Written By A Chinese Person, Say Bilingual Chinese-English Speakers:
https://appuals.com/blizzard-presidents-apology-was-written-by-a-chinese-person-say-bilingual-chinese-english-speakers/
However, some users fluent in both Chinese and English claim that the apology was written by a Chinese speaker, not Blizzard president J. Allen Brack.
https://twitter.com/sgbluebell/status/1182817588147052544

ex-Blizzard Mark Kern:
An analysis of the @Blizzard_Ent letter about @blitzchungHS and the #FreeHongKong incident.
I apply everything I know from having been in the leadership team at Blizzard, my legal background, my decades of game industry experience, and my work with Chinese companies.
https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/1183215204525412352

Blizzard's Weibo Account Isn't Helping:
Blizzard's Chinese social media account is taking a tougher stance.
https://nordic.ign.com/hearthstone-heroes-of-warcraft/30051/news/blizzards-weibo-account-isnt-helping

https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2019/10/11/activision-blizzard-is-completely-silent-and-barreling-toward-an-awkward-blizzcon/
*SNIP*
Blizzard has exemplified the Streisand Effect here. It is exceedingly likely that no one would have even batted an eye over Blitzchung’s statement if Blizzard simply let him collect his winnings and keep playing. But its reaction has created an entirely new Western pro-Hong Kong, anti-Blizzard, anti-China movement among the gaming community that spreads Blitzchung’s message far, far past its initial reach, and now Blizzard finds itself in a can’t-win situation where they risk upsetting China (which they were trying to avoid in the first place), or they lose the faith and trust of their Western audience (which may have already happened for many).

It’s going to be one hell of a BlizzCon.

Update: Blizzard has now issued a...rather odd statement about the whole incident, which you can read here.

Blizzard’s ‘Hearthstone’ Ruling Non-Apology Raises A Lot More Questions Than It Answers:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2019/10/12/blizzards-hearthstone-ruling-non-apology-raises-a-lot-more-questions-than-it-answers
Late yesterday, Blizzard issued a statement that I can’t describe as anything but bizarre, something that feels like it was crafted by a dozen different PR people and lawyers to say a whole lot of words without really answering any of the core questions this incident raises.



Blizzard has now woven a web of contradictions so complex there is no possible way to untangle it. To commit to China is to spark further controversy, to deny china, is to sever a cash pipeline so large it would mean a radical change in their business model and existing plans...

Sometimes when you aggressively flirt with the line of ultimate disaster... you go just a shade too far and cant come back.

PCgamer | Every game company that Tencent has invested in:
A quick reference of how China's largest tech conglomerate has quietly expanded into videogames.
https://www.pcgamer.com/every-game-company-that-tencent-has-invested-in/
Tencent's $330 million investment in Epic Games back in June 2012 triggered one of the most dramatic shifts in PC gaming of the last decade, ushering in a new era of free-to-play games as a service. Seeing that "the old model" of selling games wasn't working, Epic founder Tim Sweeney decided to join forces with Tencent to better learn about operating live-service games. It paid off.

From Chinese Tencent, China’s Latest Online Viral Game Makes You Clap for Xi Jinping Smart propaganda – now clapping for Xi Jinping has become a competition, October 18, 2017 (old news but relevant):
https://www.whatsonweibo.com/chinas-latest-online-viral-game-makes-clap-xi-jinping/
With the introduction of a new game by Tencent, people can now also clap along to Xi Jinping’s speech from their own living room. The game became an online hit on October 18. It was already played over 400 million times by 9 pm Beijing time.

Clap for Xi mobile game from Tencent goes Viral:


Former Blizzard lead, Mark Kern warns about China's growing influence within entertainment/media industry:
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1181736075775004672.html
https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/1181736075775004672
*SNIP*
Chinese game companies have grown huge not just because of market size, but because the government subsidizes them. They get free land, free offices, and huge infusions of cash.

This cash was and is used to do expand and buy up stakes in US gaming companies.
I’ve seen firsthand the corruption of Chinese gaming companies, and I was removed from a company I founded (after Blizzard) for refusing to take a 2 million dollar kickback bribe to take an investment from China. This is the first time I’ve ever spoken pubically about it.
I’ve also seen how American company reps in China have been offered similar bribes to get licenses for large AAA titles. Not everyone refused like I did.
Chinese companies tried to ruin my career with planted press stories. Money is often paid for favorable press in China and some of that money flows here to the US as well.

Unfortunately, money talks. China has succeeded in infiltrating all levels of tech, gaming and more.
Unfortunately, US and European companies are loath to take risks and invest in game companies legally as much as China was. China remained one of the few places mid tier studios could get funding.

So again, China influence grew. I’m sure this is the same for movies as well.
But now we are in a situation where unlimited Communist money dictates our American values. We censor our games for China, we censor our movies for China. *SNIP*

Reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/dfslaf/world_of_warcraft_vanilla_team_lead_mark_kern/

Good analysis by Drift0r & Inside Gaming. Explain the complex situation for western game companies that do business in China.
Drift0r | Chinese Censorship of US Media Explained (Blizzard, NBA, & South Park):

Inside Gaming | How Chinese Censorship is Changing Gaming - Inside Gaming Feature:
17 Oct 2019, 04:50 AM
#11
avatar of SturmtigerCobra
Patrion 310

Posts: 702 | Subs: 12

Also made MSM news, follow @Slasher on twitter (esport consultant/insider) if interested.
He appeared as MSM guest last week and did a good job representing the game community:
https://twitter.com/Slasher/

Blizzard Support claims that only being able to delete your account by sending your Government ID is a "Bug":
https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dhexgw/blizzard_support_claims_that_only_being_able_to/


I tried deleting my Blizzard account since last week but they want Government photo ID from my country :(
All Hail the Dragon Emperor!
Today I checked my account again (delete account + personal data request).
It's been over a week before this Blizzard boycott started and they still don't fix this so-called "bug":



What a fucking joke.
This might be illegal within EU due to new data protection laws.

Europe's New Privacy Law Will Change the Web, and More:
The EU's General Data Protection Regulation takes effect May 25, requiring that people know, understand, and consent to the data collected about them.
https://www.wired.com/story/europes-new-privacy-law-will-change-the-web-and-more/

Do they only have one engineer working on this bug? how convenient?
Blizzard: Maybe you'll change minds after Blizzcon?


Seekingalpha | Sell Activision Blizzard:
https://seekingalpha.com/article/4295993-sell-activision-blizzard-hong-kong-misstep-will-cost-fortune
Conclusion
Activision Blizzard's eagerness to abandon its western customers in favor of China opened Pandora's box. The negative press is just starting: expect protests at Blizzard events and further outcry from politicians. Canceled subscriptions from World of Warcraft and canceled preorders of games like Reforged will hurt the company's top and bottom lines.
*SNIP*
Regardless of Blizzard's intentions, they destroyed potentially billions of dollars of customer goodwill in their eastern and western markets.

Bellular News | Blizzard LOCKDOWN: Overwatch Launch Event CANCELLED, Pro Player CLAMPDOWN: Interview & Cams Are CUT:

Blizzard have cancelled an Overwatch launch event at NintendoNYC, likely in light of the Blitzchung situation. We've also seen them clamp down on Collegiate Hearthstone, cutting player cams & cancelling post-match interviews.

A coach in Blizzard's Overwatch League was told to delete a tweet condemning the company for censoring an esports competitor from Hong Kong:
https://www.businessinsider.com/blizzard-overwatch-league-coach-deletes-tweet-condemning-censorship-blitzchung-2019-10

Blizzard's Chinese Website does not feature the News update regarding Blitzblitzchung - A side by side comparison:
https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dgp5ll/blizzards_chinese_website_does_not_feature_the/

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD AND TENCENT ANNOUNCE LONG-TERM STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP TO BRING CALL OF DUTY ONLINE TO CHINA, Jul 3, 2012:
https://investor.activision.com/news-releases/news-release-details/activision-blizzard-and-tencent-announce-long-term-strategic

Below some re-posting from CoH2.org/Reddit, relevant to both Activision Blizzard (Tencent jumped at the opportunity to buy 5 percent of the company) and Epic (Tencent's $330 million investment in Epic Games). In 2013 Bobby Kotick (Activision CEO) led an investment group + Chinese investment/strategic relationship which helped Activision escape Vivendi who was the majority shareholder.
That investment group has since sold off a majority of it’s shares. Current biggest share holder is the Vanguard Group, Inc.

Reddit CoH analysis from RepoRogue:
It's almost like Activision doesn't care about the long term viability of Blizzard as a company but is mostly concerned with doing the video game equivalent of asset stripping where IPs are exhausted by releasing high margin mobile games that alienate the core fan base and slowly lead to the demise of the company and its brands.

The problem is that Activision has a very shortsighted view of things. They're obsessed with quarter on quarter growth and making sure everything the company does shows a direct profit. But competent business involves thinking past the current quarter to ten years down the line. Blizzard has been a staggeringly successful independent company but has been making bad decision after bad decision since it was acquired by Activision. It doesn't take Nostradamus to project what will become of Blizzard in five years.
*SNIP*
Part of the problem is that claims such as Activisions that RTS games are unprofitable are not based on solid evidence, nor are they unchangeable, natural facts. The reality is that StarCraft I and II have made a ton of money for Blizzard, so not continuing the series because RTS are unprofitable is just stupid.

Capitalists are not necessarily rational or intelligent. Many of them are not particularly knowledge about the industry they are in. As a result, they end up taking a lot of received wisdom on-board and just mimicking other big companies rather than seriously thinking through a long-term growth strategy. Activision has been on the yearly sequels until an IP stops being profitable train for a long time, and I suspect that's what they'll try to do with Overwatch (Blizzard's most marketable franchise).
*SNIP*
Except there's a reason that publishers have systematically been killing game studios for decades now: the research they do is inherently conservative in it's outlook. The focus is on genres with consistent sales over and above doing something more risky that has the potential to be way more profitable.

Consider where innovation and smash hits have come from in the last decade. A lot of them have come from Indie studios. Minecraft has been insanely profitable, PUBG has created a genre of imitators while making tons of money, etc. AAA game publishing has been stagnant and slowly eroding itself through running IP after IP into the ground with annualized releases that are more or less identical to what they were before.

This isn't because there are necessarily a bunch of morons at the top but because they have systemically short sighted incentives (namely, quarterly profit reports). The long term trajectory of this strategy, the one Activision appears to be pursuing with Blizzard, is a long term loss of profitability and probably the closure of the studio.


CAN BLIZZARD BUY BACK ENOUGH SHARES TO GET RID OF ACTIVISION?
https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/can-blizzard-buy-back-enough-shares-to-get-rid-of-activision/37510/19
In 2000 Activision created their own holding company “Activision Inc” under which was Activision Publishing (the arm that does the games). Activision is defined in the merger documents as “Activision Inc” (the holding company).

Then in July 2008 Activision Inc merged with Vivendi Games (a division of Vivendi). The new company was named Activision Blizzard to reflect “the significant brand recognition, employee headcount and profit contribution that Blizzard will make to the combined organization 5”

On July 25th 2013 Activision Blizzard announced they were buying back 429 million and million ASAC II LP, an investment vehicle led by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, to which they have personally committed $100 million combined, separately will purchase approximately 172 million shares.

Most notably that investment group has since sold off a majority of it’s shares.


Source Jason Schreier:
https://kotaku.com/the-past-present-and-future-of-diablo-1830593195
Activision merged with the publisher Vivendi (at the time, Blizzard’s holding company) to become Activision Blizzard in 2008, but over the past decade Blizzard has prided itself in remaining a separate entity. With its own management structure and its own campus in Irvine, California, Blizzard has always stood out from Activision’s other divisions and subsidiaries. (Activision HQ is based about an hour northwest, in Santa Monica.) Rather than sticking to strict production cycles that result in, say, annual Call of Duty games for Activision, Blizzard has traditionally given its developers as much time as possible. That’s one of the reasons the company has been renowned for making some of the greatest games in the world.

This year, however, Blizzard employees say that one of the biggest ongoing conversations has been cutting costs. To fans, and even to some people who work or have worked at Blizzard, there’s a concern that something deep within the company’s culture may be changing.


They bend the knee to money, like every other company. Their purpose is to make money not to take political sides.

It's more complex than that. A few points;
1) There is a difference between a private company and a publicly-traded company that has shareholders.
A private company such as Valve is less greedy than most publicly-traded companies. That is not to say a private company can't be greedy and vice versa.
Two exceptions to this corporate greed is "old Blizzard" and CD Projekt Red both publicly-traded companies.
New ownership/leadership, new ideas. At this point, it is obvious the "Activision influence" is changing Blizzard inside out.

Cyberpunk 2077 will reject microtransactions to preserve “the goodwill of customers”:
http://latestgamesnews.site/index.php/2019/10/14/cyberpunk-2077-will-reject-microtransactions-to-preserve-the-goodwill-of-customers/
CD Projekt Red: "We leave greed to others":
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-11-19-cd-projekt-red-greed-cyberpunk-2077-multiplayer
Former Blizzard boss explains why the studio cancels half its games:
https://www.gamesradar.com/blizzard-canceled-games/
The story goes that for every game Blizzard sees through to completion, it cancels another - a roughly 50 percent release rate for games that have had potentially years of work poured into them: "I've gone back every few years and checked the math on that, and it's pretty consistent," Morhaime said, as reported by Eurogamer. "It's like half the titles we work on never make it."


Valve is more pro-free market than Chinese companies that steal and copy anything they can get their hands on. Copyright laws/enforcement in China are a joke.

1 in 5 corporations say China has stolen their IP within the last year: CNBC CFO survey
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/28/1-in-5-companies-say-china-stole-their-ip-within-the-last-year-cnbc.html

Due to corporate ownership there is no such thing as a 100% neutral company. They all have a political bias which can be seen in lobbying money.
Follow the money.

We can't really separate a free market and human rights as they are interconnected.
The founder of the free market is Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations, 1776) and the founder of unalienable human rights/individual sovereignty is Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of Independence, 1776).
Both core ideas/ideologies was created in 1776 and not a coincidence.
This is a battle of ideas that has been going on for the last 200+ years.

2) Blizzard has not been consistent at all in neutrality nor is they impartial with eSport rules/TOS.
3) China by law has a closed market. It’s very difficult for western game companies to get into the Chinese market without working with a Chinese company and/or Government (Drift0r explain this).
IMO, this is borderline extortion of western companies and abusing a legal vacuum.
4) Yes, we should do legal business (not racketeering) with China even though it’s an utterly corrupt superpower.
5) Unfortunately, many people living in the west take freedom of speech/human rights for granted as it was given to us from previous generations. Because those rights did not cost us much it must not be valuable right?
For billions of people on this planet, defending basic human rights could mean going to prison or worse. The price is very real.
6)
The fact western game companies (including big tech/Google) have to create two separate products is so fucking telling.
A “real world” western version and a censored Chinese version are ridiculous. Then Chinese gamers use VPN to bypass “censored” products.
In a secret project now publicly exposed, Google engineers were forced to do Chinese censorship with a separate search engine. That engine was called Dragonfly


The list goes on.
Western consumers have right to some transparency or we can't vote with our wallet and just mindless consumerism.

Blatant lie from "Blizzard PR" written by Chinese writers (allegedly):
*SNIP*
https://news.blizzard.com/en-us/blizzard/23185888/regarding-last-weekend-s-hearthstone-grandmasters-tournament
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.

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