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Fortnite & LoL Ban: How the war against China could cost gamers their favorite video games

Image Credits: SegmentNext
Image Credits: SegmentNext
Rishabh B.
ANALYST
Modified 26 Sep 2020, 22:55 IST
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Recently, the Trump government had announced plans to impose bans on both TikTok and WeChat. While the move is to take effect on 27th September (11:59 pm), there have been further developments on the story. According to the Washington Post, a federal judge in Washington has scheduled a Sunday hearing to halt TikTok’s ban, merely hours before it goes live. Of course, the hearing has consequences for both Fortnite and League of Legends as well.

On the other hand, Bytedance, owners of WeChat, has been pursuing approvals to sell a stake to Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc.. This is in response to the US government branding both the apps as threats to ‘National Security’. As far as WeChat is concerned, a preliminary injunction to block the ban is already in effect. Regardless, the ban has been touted to be part of a wider Trump scheme, which also includes Fortnite and League of Legends.

US President Donald Trump does not look happy with Fortnite.
US President Donald Trump does not look happy with Fortnite.

Fortnite & LoL Ban: How the war against China could cost gamers their favorite video games

With the ongoing court battle expected to come to an end on 27th September, one thing is clear - the Trump government is taking a hard stance as far as corporations owned by Chinese firms are concerned. Rumors have been rife since the August 6th order, which banned all transactions on WeChat and TikTok.

The wording of that order had suggested that all Tencent subsidiaries will be under threat, something which made Fortnite fans freak out and panic. However, it was later confirmed that the gaming companies were not under threat as far as the order was concerned.

Image Credits: r/FortniteBattleRoyale, reddit.com
Image Credits: r/FortniteBattleRoyale, reddit.com

It is no secret that Tencent is a major stakeholder in Riot Games - the owner of League of Legends. Tencent also has a 40% stake in Epic Games - the developers of Fortnite. While a 40% stake might suggest that Fortnite is in a better position than other games, even this might not be true.

The US government is more concerned with how the company is handling the data of US citizens. The government thinks that Tencent could, in the future, allow the Chinese government to gain access to US citizens’ data, which is indeed a National Security threat.

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At present, the US committee on Foreign Investment has sent letters to both Tencent and Riot Games demanding information about their security protocols. Considering the speed at which the Trump government has moved to ban both TikTok and WeChat, it will not be surprising if similar moves are taken against Fortnite and League of Legends.

While Fortnite may be in a slightly better position than League of Legends, Tencent will surely be concerned. For now, Fortnite fans will be looking at TikTok’s fate. If the app survives the current scrutiny and the ban is overturned, things should be fine. Otherwise, Fortnite and League of Legends might just be the first two games that bear the US government’s brunt.

Published 26 Sep 2020, 22:55 IST
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