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The statement comes off the heels of a dramatic week for Blizzard Entertainment, who punished Hearthstone player Ng Wai "blitzchung" Chung for supporting Hong Kong protests during an official post-game interview with Blizzard's Taiwan team.
John Needham, the global head of League of Legends esports, set the matter straight in a written statement today, directing professional players and casters to avoid discussing "sensitive issues" such as personal political and religious views on air. Now the whole gaming industry is facing questions over how it'll address gamer support for political issues without offending China, one of the biggest markets in the world.
Needham writes that sensitive issues and topics like the Hong Kong protests "require deep understanding and a willingness to listen, and can not be fairly represented in the forum our broadcast provides". Riot Games also shared a list of activities they have planned for the North American side of the celebrations.
The brand introduced AXE Gaming a year ago and will "aim to inspire more confident play for League of Legends esports pros and fans alike". "As you can see from our official @lolesports twitter account, we refer to their team interchangeably by both their full name and their tricode abbreviation HKA, as we routinely do with all the teams in our ecosystem". This is a warning to all League of Legends players, especially those that have thousands or even millions of eyes on them. Needham's remarks make no mention of potential penalties.
"We want to correct some confusion that we are seeing regarding our coverage of Hong Kong Attitude", Riot Games spokesman Ryan Rigney tweeted Wednesday night. Therefore, the LoL developer is hoping that no statements or actions, voluntary or not, will contribute to the escalation of sensitive situations.