A Chinese esports player going by the name of Silen Chan on Reddit recently penned an open letter to developer-publisher Blizzard asking for help getting American visas to compete in the Overwatch World Cup 2017.
As Chan tells it, only two out of his team's six players were able to get visas to compete in the competition, leaving the other four players to be replaced by substitutes. "Of course, I am not dissatisfied with the substitutes or anything else. But as a huge fan of Overwatch, I, along with other Overwatch players, couldn’t help questioning about the reasons within: Why did the same issue happen over and over again," Chan said.
He continues, saying how difficult it is to get an American visa, pointing to similar incidents over the past decade where players were absent from competitions for games such as Warcraft and Starcraft, among others. Chan says he believes these issues happened for one reason: the difficulty of getting American visas.
"I don’t know much about the American laws on visa, but I know it is really strict," Chan continues. "From the perspective of a country, it is reasonable to exercise the strict control over the visa, but on the esports players’ point of view, it is also reasonable to let those who have good causes in. After all, esports is also one of the sporting events."
The point of the player's letter is to, in fact, ask Blizzard if there's anything it can do to help.
"I believe the answer is yes," Chan said.
"In 2006, the team wNv successfully went to America to attend WSVG," the player continued. "[Aside from] the support from the medias and the financial support, the most vital reason is that they got the assurance of Intel and Aigo. After having established a strategic cooperative partnership with Microsoft, this time wNv even got the assurance of Microsoft, Intel, Aigo, Kappa and Samsung. With these powerful supports from these 5 companies, wNv successfully got the American Visa."
Citing this example, Chan asks Blizzard for similar support in getting Chinese players to these competitions for its games, asking specifically for help getting Chan's own whole team to the Overwatch Worldcup 2017.
"Of course, if it is hard to offer more help due to the short of time, I wish everyone, starting from Blizzard, could pay more attention to the players' visa issues. Don't let the problem of visa become a barrier on those talented ones' way of achieving their e-sports dreams," Chan concluded.
We've reached out to Blizzard to see if they had a response for Chan and will update the story should we hear back.