An interesting new development has arisen since Blizzard banned "blitzchung" from the 2019 Hearthstone event. After the banning of Ng Wai Chung, aka "blitzchung" for his comments supporting Hong Kong's liberation, several users have taken to the internet to share their support for him with #BoycottBlizzard. Some players are upset with Blizzard's ruling, and those users are now finding it difficult to delete their Blizzard accounts.
Blizzard is claiming that Chung has broken one of their player agreements by, "Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard's sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute." Tensions are rising with the controversy in Hong Kong, and it has been a talking point for people like Chung who have a platform. Mulan star Crystal Liu Yifei recently skipped a D3 panel in protest.
The bold move of banning Chung has unleashed a series of social media backlash movements against Blizzard. Hearthstone caster Brian Kibler resigned out of protest of Blizzard's actions and in support of Chung's movement. Users are taking to Twitter to protest as well as swarming to delete their Blizzard accounts. However, those players are all receiving a similar error code.
Charlotte Mather took to Twitter stating that she tried deleting her account and stats only to receive a message stating, "Due to too many attempts, Email Code has been locked." Other players joined in the outrage reporting that they too had received the same message. One user claimed that Blizzard was requesting a photo of their government id in order to authenticate their identity. Needless to say, this goes beyond the normal gaming verification.
So now Blizzard have disabled ALL FOUR authentication methods to actively stop people from deleting their accounts. This is beyond disgusting. Spread awareness of this. #BoycottBlizzard pic.twitter.com/AyUiABgMXD— Charlotte Mather (@Espsilverfire2) October 9, 2019
The outcry has resulted in Blizzard's subreddit "temporarily" being shut down, making it harder for people to openly communicate their issues. Even American Republican politician, Marco Rubio spoke out about the banning calling the incident, "Leverage to crush free speech globally. Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in U.S. politics today is gone." Now it appears that Blizzard is taking the repercussions a step further by not allowing their users to leave the platform.
Likely the company is trying to prevent a mass exodus from their games, but this only seems to be angering fans even further. However, if the company is in fact actively blocking users from deleting their accounts or canceling their subscriptions, they'll be in much hotter water than a social media hashtag. Legally the company is not allowed to block users from altering their subscription preferences and it could face a class action lawsuit if the alleged practices continue.