Blizzard gamers complain they cannot boycott firm over China

image copyrightActivision Blizzard

Gamers are complaining they are unable to delete their Activision Blizzard accounts, as they attempt to show solidarity with an e-sports competitor.

The US publisher caused controversy by placing a 12-month ban on a player who had voiced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Sunday.

Users say they get error messages when they try to erase their accounts. Some suggest it could be deliberate.

But the firm has indicated a technical problem is to blame.

"There's an issue affecting the site which our engineers are currently addressing... it's a priority for us to have this resolved," one of its North America accounts tweeted.

The BBC's request for a comment has not yet been answered.

Some players in Europe have said they are able to cancel their profiles but have raised concerns that they are being asked to first upload government-issued IDs.

The firm has defended this on the grounds that it needs to be sure of their identity as the process cannot be reversed.

Activision Blizzard is behind some of the most popular console, PC and mobile video games, including Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.

Now some players, who have been unable to wipe their accounts, are threatening to tell their banks to block the company from deducting payments.

Protests began after the firm banned professional video game player, Ng Wai "Blitzchung" Chung.

After playing its Hearthstone online card game at a tournament, Blitzchung had called out in Mandarin, "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age," during a live-streamed interview.

The organisers wrote in a statement that the 21-year-old had broken competition rules and would not receive any prize money.

On 8 October, he was told he would not be allowed to compete professionally at Hearthstone for one year.

image copyrightActivision Blizzard
image captionMessage from Activision Blizzard on its Hearthstone Site

The hashtag #Blizzardboycott subsequently trended on Twitter.

And since then, the firm has faced a growing backlash from both customers and some employees.

The Daily Beast news site reported that a small group of workers at the company's Los Angeles office staged a walkout in protest.

The matter has also drawn the attention of US politicians.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The row threatens to overshadow one of the firm's biggest releases of the year - its latest Call of Duty console title - which is due to go on sale on 25 October.