A Chinese Overwatch player reportedly received a permanent ban for typing “Winnie the Pooh” in chat during a quick play match.
China has tried to block Winnie the Pooh because people have used the character to reference Chinese president Xi Jinping in various memes.
Previously, another Chinese Overwatch player posted their story of being banned for typing the name to Weibo, a Chinese social media site similar to Twitter.
Reddit user bata12 posted the english translation to /r/Overwatch, which reads:
Now there are a group of people in Overwatch, they would send some harmless coontent in chat, but if you reply it, you action would be "insulting leaders of our country".
Yesterday I was playing QP with my friends. We were on attack in Junkertown, a guy named Mikasamikoto says "Anyone knows who is the best friend of Tigger?", at that time I didn't know it was a trap, so I think about it and says"Winnie-The-Pooh", then my account got banned within like 3 seconds.
Now I've made an appeal for it but don't know if it will work. After I got banned, I searched for it and then I just found out what it means. Blizzard banned us innocent players so quickly, but those who make trap for others to step on it are still out there.
My friend played Overwatch for 2120 hours, all of his money and time were all wasted now. You understand how desperate that is? To be honest, this kind of word that doesn't relate to Overwatch is eligible for a permanent ban. Does Blizzard think everyone who plays Overwatch have to know the hidden meanings under every words? Blizzard, please give us victims some justice!
Based on the screenshots provided from Weibo, it seems like an automatic process. As soon as they typed “Winne the Pooh” the ban hammer was almost instant.
It’s not just Overwatch players getting banned either. Earlier in the week on February 25, Taiwanese Horror game Devotion was pulled from Steam by developers after Chinese gamers found a meme referencing Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh hidden in the game.
Blizzard, for their part, seem to just be following the law of the land where their game is operating, as they do with every country. Based on how quickly the ban seemed to have happened, it's likely they have automated filters for certain words or phrases in place on Chinese servers.
If it was automatic, hopefully the original Weibo poster can get their account reinstated, especially since it seems they were tricked into typing the bannable phrase in the first place.