Activision Blizzard, an American game developer known for popular games like Overwatch and Hearthstone, has come under international fire for banning a gamer after his public support of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. Professional Hearthstone player Ng Wai Chung, also known as “Blitzchung,” exclaimed, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” during a live-stream, post-tournament interview during the Grandmasters tournament. Blizzard then banned Chung from participating in Hearthstone esports for a year and rescinded his earnings from the tournament. Naturally, with so many eyes on the Hong Kong protests, people had a lot to say online. We decided to conduct sentiment analysis on the subsequent storm that blew up on social media.
Sentiment Analysis of the Hearthstone Storm
So, how do social media users feel about this? Not well at all. When we looked at the sentiment of posts about Hearthstone from October 7th to October 10th, the negative sentiment online is much higher than the positive.
Eighty-eight percent (88%) of these conversations take place on forums and Reddit (44% each), with a considerable amount taking place on YouTube and Twitter as well.
Interestingly, by platform, Youtube hosts the highest ratio of content with negative sentiment, followed by forums, Reddit, and Twitter.
Furthermore, the sentiment behind the top 10 keywords, including words like “hong,” “kong,” “support,” “blitzchung,” “boycott,” is overwhelmingly negative (79% negative).
And, here are the top Twitter hashtags found in posts related to Hearthstone this past week.
#Boycottblizzard, #hongkong, #blizzardboycott, and #hongkongprotest are some of the top hashtags, indicating the outrage that’s sweeping across the world.
Boycotting for Hong Kong
Our sentiment analysis tool allowed us to identify the voices and posts behind the social media storm. Many users are sharing about their decision to boycott Blizzard games.
One Reddit user was upset that he vowed to never “get to close anything Blizzard does.”
One Reddit user even attached a screen recording that showed the disenchanting of their collection.
Many Twitter users were similarly agitated. This user even published his first-ever tweet to voice his dismay.
Blizzard employees even staged a walkout after the controversy.
Many applauded these employees online.
However, not everyone is as supportive of boycotting Blizzard. Some are even empathetic of Blizzard Entertainment and believe that players are also representing Blizzard.
Use Sentiment Analysis To Monitor Dynamic Public Opinion
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