Blizzard, following the action taken against Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai, has canceled the launch event for Overwatch on Switch that was originally scheduled for Wednesday, October 16. This was announced via the NintendoNYC Twitter account Monday night. The event was going to take place at Nintendo’s specialty store in New York City from 4:30-7:00 PM EST.
There has been no further comment on this from Nintendo or Blizzard, but it’s not entirely too far-fetched to assume it has something to do with the tremendous backlash from fans in regards to the blitzchung incident. During a live-streamed interview earlier this month, the Grandmaster Hearthstone player appeared in a gas mask and goggles meant to be a symbol for the protests in Hong Kong. As the broadcasters put there heads down to disassociate themselves with the event, blitzchung exclaimed, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”
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 sent shockwaves through the gaming community by suspending the pro player for a year and taking away his winnings for a match he had won immediately preceding the interview. Blizzard has since reinstated blitzchung’s winnings and lessened the suspension from a year to six months. Upon doing so, Blizzard attempted to assure fans that the suspension was for breaking the terms and agreements that Ng Wai had signed that stated he was to stay on the topic of Hearthstone during the stream and interviews. Fans, however, seem convinced that the company did it to avoid consumer backlash in China, a market that is responsible for a considerable portion of Blizzard’s sales and profit. It was also quickly noticed how the China-based video game holding company Tencent owns roughly five percent of Activision Blizzard.
This new move to cancel a large Blizzard event in a major U.S. city is likely a smart business decision by the developer and publisher. With emotions flared and the term “boycott” being tossed around by consumers, it was highly likely that the event could lose its focus and become all about politics. With Hong Kong’s political state being such a hot-button, worldwide topic, it’s even entirely possible that we would’ve seen some form of violence or radical protest tomorrow if the event had gone on as planned. Ultimately, this seems like a “better-safe-than-sorry” move that will potentially save Blizzard from further bad publicity.
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.