With US President Donald Trump signing two executive orders that will prevent America doing business with ByteDance and Tencent over TikTok and WeChat, respectively, many gamers became worried that the likes of League of Legends and Fortnite may also be caught in the crossfire.
With Tencent owning LoL, Valorant, and Teamfight Tactics developer Riot Games and having a 40% stake in Fortnite creator Epic Games, concerns were raised that if US companies were ordered to stop doing business with the Chinese media giant then it would also affect the teams who are working on some of the country’s most played videogames.
However, a White House spokesperson has now confirmed to the LA Times that President Trump’s executive order will only prohibit transactions made to Tencent if they are in relation to the WeChat messaging app, meaning business between other companies it owns can continue as normal. So don’t worry, Riot and Epic are safe – for now at least.
The LA Times tech reporter who tweeted the clarification from The White House, Sam Dean, admits that from the wording of Trump’s executive orders it was “pretty much impossible to tell” at the time whether the radical bans would be affecting all Tencent business, which is why so many in the gaming community were concerned.
This was pretty much impossible to tell from the EO itself—I also had a 😲 moment that they were roping in Riot et al when I first read it—but “we just mean WeChat” is the WH line for tonight.
But banning all transactions on/with WeChat alone is still WILD.
— Sam Dean 🦅 (@SamAugustDean) August 7, 2020
President Trump says that he is targeting TikTok and WeChat because the apps “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” This is mainly down to China being able to gather data on US citizens using the app.
While concerns over personal data and national security are reasonable, many believe Trump’s emphasis on banning TikTok in particular is in retaliation to a many of the apps users taking part in a platform-wide prank to register for tickets to a rally in June, only for them to not show and leave a lot of empty seats at the venue.