Is the White House banning Fortnite and League of Legends?
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order banning any US business dealings with WeChat parent company Tencent within 45 days. Trump’s order against Tencent was issued simultaneously with his executive order against TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
Tencent has numerous stakes within the gaming industry, many involving the most popular gaming titles.
This includes a 100% stake in Riot Games (the developers of League of Legends), 84% of mobile gaming company Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale), and 40% of Epic Games, which developed Fortnite, Unreal and others.
Tencent representatives are not giving explicit comments about what this could mean for the gaming industry just yet.
“We are reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding,” a Tencent spokesperson told CyberNews.
The White House confirmed on Thursday night that the Executive Order is aimed at WeChat transactions specifically.
WeChat is a messaging, social media and electronic payment application that has more than one billion users worldwide. The executive order states that “WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”
It further states that the application “captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens” traveling abroad.
Beyond those larger stakes, Tencent also has business dealings with Activision Blizzard, Reddit, Discord, Spotify, and a wide variety of companies familiar to the American market. This has caused some speculation that these titles would be affected.
The WeChat ban comes on the heels of a warning from White House advisor Peter Navarro against the popular app for engaging in “information warfare” against the US.
The executive order’s broad language could have ramifications in many industries, as the definition of “transactions” from WeChat is yet to be determined.
Tencent’s stock plummeted by as much as 10% in Hong Kong after reports of the executive order.