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Blizzard cancels Overwatch launch event at Nintendo's New York store

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Last week, Blizzard faced intense scrutiny after suspending Hong Kong Hearthstone player Ng ‘blitzchung’ Wai Chung

An image of Mei in the Overwatch animated short “Rise and Shine” Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment has canceled its launch event for Overwatch on Nintendo Switch, which was scheduled for Oct. 16 at the Nintendo store in New York City. Nintendo announced the event’s cancellation late on Oct. 14.

“Please be aware that the previously announced Overwatch launch event scheduled for Wednesday, 10/16 at NintendoNYC has been canceled by Blizzard,” Nintendo tweeted from the NintendoNYC Twitter account. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Neither Blizzard nor Nintendo gave a reason for the event’s cancellation. Polygon has reached out to Blizzard for more information. Overwatch launches on the Nintendo Switch today.

Last week, Blizzard faced criticism — both internal and from fans — after it suspended Hong Kong Hearthstone player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung for an on-screen pro-democracy protest on an official Hearthstone stream. Originally, the developer stripped blitzchung of his prize money and suspended him for one year. Days later, Blizzard shortened the suspension to six months and said blitzchung will receive his prize money after all. Many Blizzard fans are still upset with the company.

Consumers are now boycotting Blizzard products and have turned Overwatch hero Mei into a symbol of ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Some are planning protests at Blizzard’s annual fan convention, BlizzCon, which is held in Anaheim, California in early November.

Replies to the cancellation tweet — or, really, anything Blizzard has tweeted recently — may illustrate why the developer is hesitant to host the Overwatch launch event. Most responses are critical of Blizzard’s decision to suspend blitzchung, many of which include fan art of Mei as a Hong Kong protester.

Protests are ongoing in Hong Kong as demonstrators fight for five demands, including “universal suffrage” and an investigation into the Hong Kong police force.

Correction: We’ve updated this story with the correct order of blitzchung’s name.