Update: LA Times reporter Sam Dean says that he has gotten confirmation from the White House that this executive order will, in fact, not impact video game developers. You can see his tweet below.
Video game companies owned by Tencent will NOT be affected by this executive order!
White House official confirmed to the LA Times that the EO only blocks transactions related to WeChat
So Riot Games (League of Legends), Epic Games (Fortnite), et al are safe
— Sam Dean ? (@SamAugustDean) August 7, 2020
This is “pending updates,” though–we’ll be sure to keep following this story and updating as necessary.
The original article follows.
President Trump has issued a pair of executive orders to ban transactions with TikTok and WeChat, the latter of which is owned by Tencent, a company with a huge presence in games. It’s unclear as of yet what this could mean for various game publishers in the US, but there’s a possibility that they will be impacted.
For the full scope of these orders, visit our sister site CNET, which has an extensive breakdown of all the details. This article will focus on Tencent’s role, and what this might mean for the company.
The executive order seeks to ban WeChat in the US within 45 days, as it “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,” which “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information”.
The issue here is that the order would ban “financial transactions” with the parent company that owns WeChat, which could have wide-reaching implications for games. Tencent is a full owner of Riot Games (Valorant, League of Legends), Funcom (Conan Exiles), and Sharkmob, and partial owner of a number of companies, including Grinding Gear Games (Path of Exile), Supercell (Clash of Clans), Epic Games (Fortnite, the Epic Games Store, Unreal Engine), Activision Blizzard, and Ubisoft.
Whether or not any of this will ultimately effect these companies, however, remains to be seen–these executive orders have just been issued, and the companies have 45 days to comply. The full implications of this order might take some time to become clear–and it’s possible that the order will be amended over time.
This story is developing.