The president on Thursday announced an executive order that blocks transactions with the app’s parent company, ByteDance. Trump also issued an executive order banning WeChat and parent corporation Tencent, which could have widespread effects on the gaming industry.
As Engadget reported, the company has investments in a number of gaming-related companies, and operates many popular titles including PUBG Mobile. It also owns Riot Games, maker of League of Legends and Valorant, and is a major owner of Epic Games, developer of the widely popular game Fortnite. It was not immediately clear if these would be directly banned in the United States when the measure is set to go into effect.
The outfit has its hands in a number of other areas of the entertainment industry, the report added.
“Tencent Films has also had a hand in producing many major movies recently, like Wonder Woman, Top Gun: Maverick, Terminator: Dark Fate and Venom,” Engadget reported, adding that the outfit also has “a stake in Spotify after the companies swapped equity in 2018, recently closed a $3.3 billion deal to take an ownership stake in Universal Music Group and also owns a share of Warner Music.”
As reporter David Milner noted on Twitter, Trump’s effort may have been aiming at TikTok, but appears to be delivering a direct strike to the gaming world.
“Incredible. Tencent owns Riot Games and has a stake in Supercell, Grinding Gear Games, like 40% of Epic Games, Bluehole, and little chunk of fucking Activision,” he wrote. “Trump accidentally made a lot of American video games illegal.”
Other reports added that it was unclear why the other company was included, or whether the president fully understood the devastating impact it would have on the gaming industry.
Others noted that the technology outfit also distributes major American sports content to audiences in China, delivering some massive revenue to these leagues.
Trump’s new executive order re: TikTok/WeChat suggests that US-jurisdiction businesses can’t do deals with Tencent.
NBA, NFL, NHL & MLB all have media rights deals with Tencent to distribute content across China.
Tencent broadcasts 4 NFL games a week & pays NBA ~$300m a year.
— Ian Thomas (@byIanThomas) August 7, 2020
Reports have noted that the action is likely to face a court challenge that it may not survive, and it was unclear if the bans would ever go into effect. Trump’s directive included a 45-day window before going into effect, leaving time for the companies to be acquired by American buyers. Microsoft is reportedly in talks to purchase TikTok, but it was not clear if Tencent has any suitors.