President Trump’s executive order blocking “transactions” involving Tencent’s WeChat will not hurt games owned, or partially owned, by Tencent.
That means that it will reportedly not affect the likes of Riot Games’ League of Legends or Epic Games’ Fortnite, both of which have financial ties to Tencent. Instead, it covers only WeChat transactions.
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
Trump signed his executive order on Wednesday. Alongside Tencent, it also blocks transactions with TikTok parent company ByteDance.
It’s not yet clear exactly what this means (WeChat is predominantly used inside of China), but it seems that games will not be affected by the order. Tencent has many ties to games companies. For instance, last year Tencent’s ownership stake in Activision Blizzard came to the forefront during the Hong Kong protests and the decision to ban a Hearthstone esports player who supported them.
The executive orders will come into effect in 45 days. They reference the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act. Essentially the argument is that they pose a threat to American national security interests. Microsoft is currently in reported talks to buy TikTok, thereby bringing it under control of a U.S. company.
Cracking down on apps in China
This issue has rumbled on in recent months. As I wrote yesterday, the Trump administration is on a mission to eliminate “untrusted” Chinese apps from the App Store. This is part of a multiphase “Clean Network” plan to cut down on potential security risks from China.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will crack down on apps with parent companies based in China. TikTok and WeChat are the two specific apps mentioned. However, Pompeo used these only as examples of the kinds of apps that could come under fire.