In what was supposed to be a big celebration, Blizzard’s Overwatch launches today on the Nintendo Switch. However, the launch arrives while Blizzard is mired in controversy over its decision to ban a Hearthstone player who openly supported the Hong Kong protests – and, perhaps not surprisingly, the company has now cancelled a major event.
As part of the big Nintendo Switch launch, Blizzard and Nintendo had planned a major event in Nintendo’s big store in New York – where, amidst other treats, fans would get the chance to meet the voice actors behind many of their favourite Overwatch heroes. It was due to take place tomorrow, but now that event has been cancelled by Blizzard.
No official confirmation was given as to the reason behind the cancellation of such a big event – you only get one launch party, after all – but it seems likely that, in the middle of one of the worst PR disasters Blizzard has ever faced, it would wish to avoid any confrontations colouring such a public event.
Nintendo itself broke the news on its Twitter feed earlier today. The event was going to be free, but required sign-ups, which started over a month ago. At the moment Blizzard has not offered any comment about the cancellation.
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
Blizzard has, however, offered an official statement regarding the banning of Hearthstone pro Chung ‘blitzchung’ Ng Wai – who proclaimed his support for the Hong Kong protests during a post-match interview, and received a ban for it.
So far, however, Blizzard has done little to quell the discontent being felt – including amongst its own employees, who staged a walkout following the controversy.