In the latest volley against China, U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an executive order banning transactions with Tencent and ByteDance the parent companies of WeChat and TikTok respectively. In doing so, there may be implications for popular games such as Valorant, Fortnite, League of Legends, and others that are heavily reliant on in-game transactions.
President Trump May Have Banned Gaming Transactions
U.S. President Donald Trump has made his gung-ho rhetoric against China the main tenet of his political campaign for the upcoming Presidential Elections in the country. Yet, in attacking Chinese intellectual property and suspending companies from operating, he may have inadvertently affected the gaming industry as well.
Last week, President Trump issued an executive order with which he banned TikTok. That didn’t lead to de-escalation, though, with the President focusing on WeChat, and the company’s parent entity, Tencent, prompting a massive $46 million value write-off.
His executive order specifically targeted any transactions with either company, i.e. Tencent and ByteDance. However, his crusade against Chinese companies may affect the gaming and esports community as well.
Because of the decision to ban transactions, it may become illegal to make purchases in popular games owned by Riot Games, Tencent’s largest gaming company and developer of blockbuster titles, such as League of Legends and Valorant.
Worse still, Tencent also has a 40% stake in Epic Games, developer of Fortnite and the company similarly has bought stakes, although smaller ones, in Ubisoft, Supercell, Blizzard, Discord, and even Reddit, among many others.
45 Days to Find Out How Business Will Be Affected
There are still 45 days before the executive order comes into effect, prompting the gaming community to comment quickly. In other words, it might become illegal for you to make a purchase from Epic Games or Riot Games and one of their games. With Epic Games launching their own digital shop, this is definitely going to be bad news for the company, although it has the financial reserve to weather just about any type of crunch.
Yet, President Trump’s shortsightedness may have involuntarily hurt the gaming industry. While POTUS is right in theory to react to any danger to the national security or leaking of sensitive data of U.S. citizens, he has turned the TikTok situation into fuel for his political campaign.
The United States has no interest in acting belligerently towards China at the height of a pandemic and to compound the economic difficulties regular citizens are experiencing. Meanwhile, industry insider, Rod “Slasher” Breslau has tweeted that the executive order may indeed lead to difficulties in transacting payments to and from any of the aforementioned companies’ game shops.
However, Sam Dean, an LA Times reporter has said that the order is unlikely to impact gaming companies and that, in fact, it would not. There are 45 days before we know for sure.