Earlier this week, World of Warcraft developer Blizzard banned Blitzchung, a Hearthstone pro player, and revoked his prize winnings for expressing support for ongoing protests in Hong Kong. A widespread backlash against the studio has followed from fans, who have threatened to boycott Blizzard and protest the Blitzchung ban, as well as employees who have staged a walkout. Now, a dev who worked on Vanilla WoW has cancelled his own subscription to the game in response to the events.
Developer Mark Kern, who was a team lead for the Vanilla version of World of Warcraft, has posted a screenshot on Twitter of his subscription cancellation. In reply to an optional question on the form asking about the reason for the decision to cancel, Kern has written, “I made this game with the team. I am opposed to Blizzard’s fear of China and the silencing of Blitzchung. I am calling on Blizzard to stand up for what is right.”
In the tweet itself, Kern has said, “It’s done,” accompanied by the hashtag “BoycottBlizzard.” In a subsequent tweet, Kern also acknowledges Blizzard’s position, saying the studio is “in a difficult situation.”
He says, “Much of their current revenue and plans for future revenue are rooted in China,” adding, “I don’t expect them to change, but I can still express my opinion and take a stand.”
It appears that some other users are following suit, as a search of the BoycottBlizzard hashtag on Twitter reveals multiple instances (at the time of writing) of people uninstalling the WoW launcher Battle.net or similarly unsubscribing from the game for reasons related to the events.
This follows pro Hearthstone player and caster Bryan Kibler’s decision this week to no longer be involved with the Grandmasters tournament, in response to the ban.