So Blizzard is gold wow classic profoundly invested in China - not just financially, but emotionally and creatively. Its matches entertain many millions of people. Its providers in the country make a contribution to its bottom line. And all of this exists at the whim of the Communist Party of China, which not only has complete control of authorities but that expands its influence deep into Chinese companies, such as NetEase and Tencent, which has a five per cent stake in Activision Blizzard (along with dozens of other prominent gaming companies). If it so wished, the Chinese government could use its regulators to flip off Blizzard's matches such as a tap.
Blizzard is hardly alone in this situation. Every aspect of Western business is invested in China the Chinese government exerts an outsize influence on it. Media and entertainment companies, with their capability to form the understanding of China in the global consciousness, get attention. Their output to guarantee they get a run at the Chinese box office is now routinely self-censored by hollywood studios.
Republican US Senator Marco Rubio (of all people) put it succinctly on Twitter:"Recognize what is happening here. People who do not live in China should either self suspensions & indulgent or face dismissal. China using entry to market as leverage to crush free speech globally." For many others like it and Blizzard, it's an impossible choice. Your say betray your shareholders and goodbye to a billion-dollar market, or values. (As well as, it's fair to state, your blameless Chinese customers.) In a capitalist world, investors win every argument.
[Some angry fans are mounting a kind of hostile takeover of Blizzard's intellectual property by trying to turn Chinese Overwatch personality Mei to a Hong Kong protest symbol - as seen in the wow classic gold trade above Reddit embed. The hope is that it will sour governments and get it banned.]