Blizzard Is Banning Gamers For Political Speech - But Fortnite Won’t

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In response to actions taken by Blizzard after a recent Hearthstone tournament, Fortnite developer Epic Games has stated they will never ban players for expressing their political views. Recently, Fortnite's Season 11 was delayed by a week and players have been spending their extra time playing as a Battle Royale Batman due to the game's recent crossover with DC Comics' Dark Knight.

Fortnite has been under some renovation lately, in part to cater towards casual players by adding in a new skill-based matchmaking system to reduce "smurfing," the process of pitting extremely talented players against poor ones in order to artificially enhance their player stats. Epic Games has banned players from Fortnite in the past due to cheating and exploitation, but they have now gone on record saying they will never do what Blizzard did last weekend.

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According to The Verge, an Epic Games spokesperson said "Epic supports everyone's right to express their views on politics and human rights. We wouldn't ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics." This statement comes after the hashtag #BlizzardBoycott began trending due to the company stripping a Hearthstone player of his title and winnings because he protested the Chinese government's oppression of Hong Kong in a post-game interview. Blizzard also banned the player, who goes by the gamer handle Blitzchung, from participating in any Hearthstone tournaments for an entire year.

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Blizzard has been the target of much ire from Hearthstone fans around the world since their decision to rescind Blitzchung's winning status. Gamers and politicians alike are angered Blizzard would go to such lengths to make sure they do not offend the oppressive Chinese government, and Hearthstone players in a recent Collegiate tournament held up a sign showing solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters.

Although a nice sentiment from Epic Games, Fortnite is still plagued with swatting problems and sketchy DLC offerings which may be part of the reason why Blizzard games like World of Warcraft have been recently watched more on Twitch than Fortnite has. Is this a heartfelt response to another company's actions or is it a shallow attempt to regain some of the good graces which Epic Games lost due to various lawsuits and reports of intense crunch periods? The true reason probably lies somewhere in-between, but now that Epic has labeled Fortnite as a definite place where free speech is encouraged it will be interesting to see how fans take advantage of it in the future.

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Source: The Verge

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