Technology

Pro-gamer stripped of prize money for supporting Hong Kong protests

Pro-gamer stripped of prize money for supporting Hong Kong protests
A professional video game player has been stripped of his prize money and has been banned from competing for 12 months after making a statement in support of the Hong Kong protests.
Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wa was competing in Blizzard's "Grandmasters" competition for Hearthstone – a digital collectible card game – when he appeared in post-match interviewing wearing a mask like those worn by protesters before shouting: "Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age".
Blizzard responded by removing the player from the tournament, withdrawing all his prize money and banning him from participating in Hearthstone esports for 12 months.
Hearthstone is a free-to-play online digital collectible card game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment (Supplied)
Blizzard responded by removing the player from the tournament, withdrawing all his prize money and banning him from participating in Hearthstone esports for 12 months.
The company said Blitzchung had violated the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters competition rules.
"Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard's sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in remove from Grandmasters, reduction of the player's prize total to $0 USD," the rules explained.
Blizzard said the competition was the highest tier of Hearthstone esports and the company takes the violation seriously. It added it was taking the necessary actions to ensure similar incident didn't happen again.
"Effective immediately, Blitzchung is removed from Grandmaster and will receive no prizing for Grandmasters season 2. Additionally, Blitzchung is ineligible to participant in Hearthstone esports for 12 months," Blizzard said.
"While we stand by one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competition must abide by the coemption rules."
The company said it would also "cease working with both casters" involved in airing the Hong Kong statement.
Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wa (Supplied)
Blitzchung is yet to comment on the ban.
Fuel Games, developer of rival card game Gods Unchained, slammed Blizzard and invited the gamer into its esports tournament.
"[Blizzard stripped Blitzchung of his] Heartstone winnings because they care about money more than freedom. We will pay for ALL his lost winnings and a ticket to our $500k tournament: no player should be punished for their beliefs," the company said.