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Blizzard President Confirms Blizzard Will Not Repeal Suspensions of Hearthstone Casters in Interview

Poorna Shankar Posted:
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In an interview with PC Gamer, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack confirmed that suspensions for the Hearthstone casters won’t be repealed.

When asked pointedly whether or not Blizzard would repeal suspension for the Taiwanese casters Brack replied, “We are not.” He went on to clarify,

“So, one of the things that we talked about in the commitment to expression about all kinds of ways and all kinds of places, is the fact that we're huge believers in free speech, and we're huge believers in free expression. We have a long history of that being part of the culture of the company for employees. That's certainly part of the culture of the relationship that we have with the community. And so employees are free to post on their social media accounts. If you think about the people that we have that are esports athletes, our Grandmasters, or anyone who is participating in esports, they're free to say and do whatever they want on their social channels. I feel like we have a far more open set of guidelines and policies than really any other traditional sport that takes a view around making sure that all of the people stay on message. And so, that's how we think about free expression and how we've contextualized it.”

He continued that Blizzard wants the focus of the official broadcasts to be about the games. PC Gamer followed up with asking if Blizzard’s official position is that they’re ok with expression except when it’s on their official channels. Brack replied, “That’s right.”

PC Gamer continued and asked whether NetEase had any influence on the decision, to which Brack responded,

“Okay, glad you asked that because I'd love to be very clear. The first thing that I want to talk about is that there is a massive amount of either confusion or non-understanding around what the regulations are in China. Blizzard is not legally allowed to operate or to publish games in China. You must have a partner. That is the regulation, that is law. NetEase is our partner. NetEase is not a government agency, NetEase is a company. They are the publisher. One of the things that has kind of come up around this is the Blizzard Weibo post and the text around that. We are not legally allowed to operate those channels. We are not legally allowed to contribute. That is a NetEase decision, they are the publisher in China.”

When asked if NetEase had written the Weibo post, Brack responded,

”Correct. We did not authorize it. We did not approve it. We would not have approved it had they asked.”


Poorna Shankar

A highly opinionated avid PC gamer, Poorna blindly panics with his friends in various multiplayer games, much to the detriment of his team. Constantly questioning industry practices and a passion for technological progress drive his love for the video game industry. He pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. He runs a podcast, Gaming The Industry, with fellow writer, Joseph Bradford, discussing industry practices and their effects on consumers.