Blizzard cancels Nintendo World’s Overwatch Switch release party

Olivia Richman • October 16, 10:29

Seven days after Nintendo World in New York City announced an Overwatch release event, Blizzard told them to cancel it. 

Nintendo fans were gearing up to celebrate Overwatch’s release on the Nintendo Switch at a big event in NYC. The free event even offered meet and greets with various Overwatch voice actors for the first 150 attendees. October 16 was shaping up to be a fun day for fans. 

But then Nintendo World had to inform fans that it wasn’t happening after all, just seven days after sign-up dates were announced. 

“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,” the store tweeted

No explanation for the cancellation was given to the public, but it was easy for many to speculate why this might have happened. 

Blizzard has been made the target of protests and boycotts after the game developers banned Hearthstone player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai for speaking up about China’s treatment of Hong Kong during a post-match interview.

For many gamers, this was seen as Blizzard not allowing freedom of speech, something that seemed even more likely when the company started issuing bans to anyone who supported Hong Kong or opposed China in their forums. The censoring continued when Blizzard decided to shut down the company’s chief subreddit altogether. 

Then, Blizzard started demanding that anyone involved with the company delete tweets that discussed the matter, especially tweets that questioned Blizzard’s censorship or their ties to Chinese companies. 

BlizzCon has become the target of protesters looking to speak out against censorship. Gamers and activists have already started signing up for the peaceful protest, vowing to wear masks and carry umbrellas like the protesters defending themselves against pepper spray attacks in Hong Kong. 

It seems as though Blizzard is trying to avoid more organized protesting by canceling the Overwatch event in NYC. But in doing so, the company is only further silencing their fanbase and players, as they continue to take away from various social platforms.

While Blizzard’s president issued an explanation to fans regarding the blitzchung situation, actions like these only make fans continue to think the letters was insincere. And it seems to only fuel even more of an opposition to Blizzard as a whole. 

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