Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan was “relieved” when the company reduced Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai’s suspension and returned his prize money.
Speaking with the Wahington Post, Blizzard vice president and Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan said he believes the suspension should be reduced even further or eliminated entirely.
“I was relieved when they reduced his suspension,” Kaplan said. “And I think the suspension should be reduced more or eliminated. But that’s just me.
“I’m obviously a huge supporter of free speech. It’s something that’s very important to me. It got to me personally. I think the punishment was too harsh and I was greatly relieved when they gave his money back. I think that was extremely important.”
While Kaplan was disappointed in Blizzard’s decision during the Heartstone Grand Masters, he admits not all Blizzard employees agree with his opinion.
“I think as individuals, we all have very different feelings about what happened in regards to the Hearthstone tournament and Blitzchung,” he said. “There is a lot of very different reaction among all of us.”
In October Blizzard removed Hong Kong player Blitzchung from the Hearthstone Grandmasters, stating he violated competition rules. The company also took back prize money earned from Season 2.
After outcry, the company halved the suspension and returned his prize money. His current ban still stands.
At BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack apologized for the way the company handled the situation, stating the studio “moved too quickly,” and were “too slow,” to talk to fans about its decision. He promised the company would “do better” in the future.
The apology didn’t seem to impress many of the protestors who showed up for the annual event.