Recently, it was reported that the US government has passed an order to ban the download of Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat. The ban will come into effect tomorrow, ie. the 20th of September, and may still be rescinded by the US president.
TikTok owners Bytedance have rushed to solve the situation. As of now, the company is in talks with Oracle Corp. and wants to start a new company called ‘TikTok Global’, which will take care of the various national security concerns that some countries have cited in order to ban the app. However, other apps might be in danger as well, including both Fortnite and League of Legends.
Chinese company Tencent has a 40% stake in Epic Games, the owner of Fortnite. It also owns Riot Games, the company which has developed and published League of Legends across platforms.
The Commerce department of the US government will de-platform TikTok and WeChat and bar all stores from providing access to the two apps within the US.
However, various rumors suggest that Fortnite and League of Legends might be the next apps that the Trump government turns to.
Trump government reportedly looking to ban Fortnite and League of Legends
Towards the beginning of August, the BBC reported that while the banning process is set to begin with messaging and video sharing platforms such as WeChat and TikTok, some games might be under danger as well. This is because Tencent, the Chinese multi-conglomerate, has its tentacles across a variety of industries, including gaming, entertainment, artificial intelligence and other technology.
Furthermore, we have already seen India banning PUBG Mobile. The game is owned by PUBG Corporation, which was originally called Bluehole Ginno Games. Tencent has only a 10% stake in the company, which was deemed enough by the Indian government to ban it.
Regardless, back when the US government had banned transactions in both WeChat and TikTok, the wording of the statement had people believing that even Fortnite is included. This is because the text mentioned Tencent and suggested that all transaction related to any property related to the company will be banned. However, it was later clarified that the video game companies will not be affected by the ban.
Now, it appears as if things are about to change. Yesterday, ie. the 18th of September, Bloomberg reported that Epic Games and Riot Games have already received letters US Committee on Foreign Investment. The companies have currently been asked about their security protocols with respect to American citizens handling of personal data.
A real ban may be a while away but it appears as though both Fortnite and League of Legends might be the first two games that will bear the brunt of the Trump government. This should be followed by games such as Valorant, which is also owned by Riot Games. As a matter of fact, all games owned or part-owned by Tencent may be under scrutiny in the coming months.Published 19 Sep 2020, 17:54 IST