An upcoming launch event celebrating Overwatch's release on the Nintendo Switch has been cancelled by Blizzard, as Nintendo New York announced on their twitter account Monday evening. The cancellation most likely stems from the controversy surrounding Blizzard's decision to ban a Hearthstone player from competing after the player expressed pro-Hong Kong sentiments following an official match earlier this month.
The event, which was supposed to take place at NYC's Nintendo World Store, was planned to celebrate Overwatch: Legendary Edition's release on the Switch, and was also going to give a limited number of fans the chance to meet a number of voice actors from the game. Unfortunately, in order to avoid imminent protests and disruptions of the event, Blizzard has decided that the best choice is to cancel it all together.
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
Overwatch's release on the Nintendo Switch, which should otherwise be celebrated as a great online multiplayer game receiving a port on a handheld console, has been overshadowed by Blizzard's recent controversy. Many have called into question whether or not the company's actions abandon common values in order to stay aligned with investors tied to the Chinese government. Outside of Blizzard's Anaheim offices, a statue reads, "Think Globally", and, "Every Voice Matters", phrases that can easily be viewed as hypocritical in light of the company's recent decisions.
Even Blizzard employees have expressed disapproval of the company's actions, staging a walk out last week and covering the above phrases on the office's statue with paper. The company, which has otherwise seen a great past few months financially with the recent resurgence of World of Warcraft, has been taking PR hit after PR hit. Now, it only seems as if the hole is being dug deeper and deeper.
Many fans have taken action and decided to boycott Blizzard completely, where others have begun using Overwatch's character, Mei, as a symbol of Chinese liberation and hope. Although the Nintendo NYC event may not have gone without protests, cancelling it all together tells us that Blizzard doesn't see the issue going away any time soon, and whether or not they'll be able to recover from this controversy is yet to be foreseen.