Blizzard Loses Sponsor Over Hong Kong Actions

Blizzard Loses Sponsor Over Hong Kong Actions

When Blizzard decided to take action against a pro Hearthstone player for speaking out over the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, they ate a lot of shit from fans. They also, it turns out, lost a commercial sponsor in the form of Mitsubishi Motors.

The Taiwanese branch of the Japanese auto giant had been a sponsor of all of Blizzard’s esports events, but just two days after the decision to sanction Blitzchung for his actions, they withdrew their support.

A Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan spokesperson confirmed the move to The Daily Beast, which had first been noticed by Reddit users earlier in the month when the company’s logo and models of its vehicles stopped appearing alongside casters.


A reminder that BlizzCon, the company’s annual fan gathering, starts this Friday.


  • Seems to be more about not wanting to be tied to the controversy and protecting its market for that region than making a stand.

    • that and well japan, china and korea have never gotten along all that much in past 2000+ years. Its one of the reasons why PC gaming is main platform in china due to china having a ban on japanese consoles (which has only recently been relaxed)

      • I guess they’d need to let the consoles in the country in order to destroy them in protest over those rocks that China and Japan have been arguing over. Not to mention the next time someone in Japan goes to ‘that’ shrine and causes a major diplomatic incident.

    • Good. Remember that as it seems ethical behaviour from companies appears to only come as a result of public pressure, this makes being noisy about this shit all the more important.

      • It’s not that good, they are quietly stepping away to avoid being dragged in to the debate.
        They don’t want to be seen choosing sides.

          • Just as they wont openly make a statement that threatens the companies business interests in the region.

        • The fact that it occurred two days after the occurrence and they didn’t make a public statement at that time certainly makes it seem like they wanted it to be quiet.

          Amusingly naive of them, if that was truly the intent. (Mostly because their intent doesn’t really matter.)
          If you stumble across a mugging, and the victim says “help me!” and the mugger says, “walk away”, and you walk away but SAY it’s because ‘you don’t want to take a side’, what you say doesn’t matter – you’ve still done what the mugger asked.
          “I’m not taking a side,” on things you’re involved in (such as through a sponsorship) is of those paradoxes that just doesn’t work in reality. Inaction is an action, basically.

          And pulling sponsorship is absolutely an action.

          Either way, Blizzard doesn’t get that money. That’s good. More pressure is required, obviously, but this is still better than Blizzard still having the sponsorship.

          • I also wonder about the time frame too, there was a number of big official events in that region during that time so while I do think they didn’t want to be seen supporting Blizzard at that time but I also suspect they were worried about more people making statements on streams where their logo and products were visible.

            In a small window I do see this as a win but for the bigger picture I don’t think it actually achieves anything.
            Blizzards Esports presence in the Asia region is surging, even on the back of the controversy and I honestly don’t think losing Mitsubishi is going to hurt that much, especially if their only doing this until things die down.

            It kinda reminds me of the celebration about Blizzards stock dropping after the backlash but if you take a step back it’s on an upward trend.

          • Well, Blizzard’s stock is Activision’s stock, and a new CoD just came out.
            I’d be surprised if long-term anything changes. Bigger swings I’d foresee would be if they get banned in China thanks to Trump’s trade war (much more likely to me than just simply pissing off the CCP), or if certain monetization techniques get outlawed across the EU/US.
            Investors don’t give a shit about ethics, they care about whether the ROI is good. And if Chinese gains can offset Western losses, they’ll remain happy.

        • It means they are not paying money to a company that tried to silence criticism of China. The underlying motive is secondary.

          This is similar to advertisers withdrawing support for Alan Jones’ radio show based on activism by Sleeping Giants and others. It doesn’t really matter if the advertisers are truly against his bigoted statements: it is still going to put financial pressure on Nine Networks to change.

          • Of course the motive is important, the fact they quietly withdrew and refuse to make a statement on the subject when asked about it shows they don’t want any association on any level.

            It’s a lose lose situation for them to stay and leaving quietly lets them continue business in the region without being drawn into the debate.

          • I agree that it would be better if Mitsubishi made a statement. My point is that even without a statement it still has an effect.

            Many of the former Alan Jones advertisers haven’t made statements (beyond confirming that they no longer buy ads on the show if asked), but it is still having an effect.

          • The Jones thing was a little different, there was a high profile boycott happening and the sponsors who didn’t make a comment were already in the spotlight so their actions were obvious and announced publicly by the media and various advertisement brokers.
            Mitsubishi wasn’t under any boycot or attention, choosing instead to quietly slip out the back door before their image got caught up in the kerfuffle and the medias only just caught wind because of viewers who happened to notice the companies absence.

            The Jones exodus was also pretty cut and dry, backing the show hurt the sponsors but in this case backing anybody is going to hurt them so a quiet and unexplained exit says a lot.

            It clearly has an effect, it’s just that effect is left to media and individuals because the company clearly doesn’t want to confirm the specifics.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!