Activision Blizzard is easing up on a pro video game player who voiced support for Hong Kong protesters—but the company didn't exactly apologize, the Washington Post reports. Suspended at first for a year and stripped of prize money, Ng "blitzchung" Wai Chung will get to keep his $3,000 in winnings and will only be out six months. Two broadcasters interviewing Wai Chung at the time will get the same suspension rather than being fired. The reason? "Over the past few days, many players, casters, esports fans, and employees have expressed concerns about how we determined the penalties," writes J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. "...In hindsight, our process wasn't adequate, and we reacted too quickly."
But Brack says Wai Chung was punished because he broke "rules" or "values"—not because of his politics. "The specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made," he writes. "I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision." (Indeed, a Chinese conglomerate called Tencent owns 5% of Activision Blizzard, and China is a core market in the gaming world.) But Brack claims Wai Chung's mistake was to go against company values like "bring[ing] the world together" through a "passion for gaming." Wai Chung's actual words in a post-game interview last weekend: "Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!" Wai Chung is a Hong Kong-based player of Hearthstone. See his photo at Kotaku. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)