Blizzard has announced a last-minute decision to pull out of its planned event at Nintendo World. The event, which was scheduled for tomorrow, was intended to celebrate the launch of Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch, which was released today.
The company had planned a meet and greet with some of the game’s voice actors for the first 150 fans to sign up for the event, which was cancelled just a day before it was due to take place, with no explanation.
It has been generally assumed that the cancellation is linked to the ongoing controversy following Blizzard’s decision to ban Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai from professional play for 12 months, after he expressed support for the Hong Kong protests during a live interview.
Many in the community have accused Blizzard of giving into Chinese censorship, though the company denies that their business interests in China had any impact on their decision. However, in the face of the criticism, Blizzard has stepped down and reduced Ng Wai’s ban to just 6 months and returned his previously confiscated winnings from the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament.
Please be aware that the previously announced Overwatch launch event scheduled for Wednesday, 10/16 at NintendoNYC has been cancelled by Blizzard. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
— Nintendo NY (@NintendoNYC) October 15, 2019
The community seems to remain unconvinced, however. Responses to the event’s cancellation via Nintendo New York’s Twitter account include the use of the #BoycottBlizzard and #StandWithHongKong hashtags, alongside images of Overwatch character Mei, who has been co-opted as a pro-Hong Kong figure by protestors.