Blizzard Accused Of Blocking Gamers From Deleting Accounts
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.
In the wake of the Blitzchung ban controversy, clamors for “#BoycottBlizzard” are growing in gaming boards and social networks, with some angry gamers even deleting their Blizzard Battle.net accounts. Under GDPR, any EU consumer is entitled to delete their accounts with an online service, and have their data scrubbed. On Wednesday evening, however, users found themselves being unable to do so. The user authentication system (which authenticates that a request to delete the account is legitimate), has conveniently broken down, preventing people from deleting their accounts.
The reparations against Wai sparked outrage among the gaming community. But Blizzard users said when they attempted to delete their subscriptions, the company was blocking their efforts. “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,” @Espsilverfire2 tweeted. (Below)
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 (@WingedAsarath) October 9, 2019
#BoycottBlizzard trended Wednesday among gamers. Some users were apparently successful in deleting their accounts.
“Feels good cleaning up 500+ Gbs of storage on my computer after deleting every blizzard game from it. Go fuck yourselves @Blizzard_Ent @BlizzardCS #BoycottBlizzard,” @PandamoniumFTW tweeted.
— HoennGhoul (@PandamoniumFTW) October 9, 2019
Some see this as a deliberate attempt by Blizzard to cauterize its userbase while the controversy dies down. Blizzard’s customer support for the Americas tweeted that this is “an issue” with the account deletion mechanism and that Blizzard’s engineers are “looking into it,” with no ETA mentioned.
Our information regarding the deletion process is listed here: https://t.co/nKbQGDGGiK That said, there is an issue with the submission process that has prevented account holders from submitting the request. Our engineers are looking into this currently. ^AX
— Blizzard CS – The Americas (@BlizzardCS) October 10, 2019
An anonymous Blizzard employee told the Daily Beast that the company’s position with China is not a surprise.
An anonymous Blizzard employee told:
“Blizzard makes a lot of money in China, but now the company is in this awkward position where we can’t abide by our values,”
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.