UPDATE: A White House official has clarified that the executive order will only apply to WeChat and operations regarding WeChat and will not directly impact gaming companies.
LA Times reporter Sam Dean posted the following tweet after receiving information from an official:
This is subject to change, but for now, good news for the gaming industry.
President Trump signed an executive order late on August 6 evening to ban transactions related to WeChat, which is owned by Tencent. The order is banning any transaction starting in 45 days.
Upon an examination of the executive order, it could have an impact on the entire gaming industry.
The specific portion of the order that impacts the gaming industry is in relation to how the White House defines WeChat’s ownership group. It says “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd (a.k.a. Téngxùn Kònggǔ Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī), Shenzhen, China, or any subsidiary of that entity, as identified by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) under section 1(c) of this order” will be banned starting in 45 days.
The part that involves gaming industry is “any subsidiary” of Tencent Holdings LTd. Tencent has expanded their grasp around the world with acquisitions alongside investments in gaming companies.
The impact here for Call of Duty is around the Mobile title. Activision and Tencent formed a partnership to create and distribute Call of Duty: Mobile. A Tencent subsidiary, TIMI Studios, is the developer of the mobile game. TIMI Studios is based out in LA.
Tencent currently has a 5% investment stake in Activision Blizzard. Alongside Activision, they have investments in Epic Games, 100% ownership of Riot Games, and more as shown in the chart below.
The order could have an impact on the financial partnership between Activision and Tencent to deliver Call of Duty: Mobile. Alongside impacting Call of Duty: Mobile, Tencent develops PUBG Mobile, one of the most successful mobile games of all time.
In the past, Tencent was developing and releasing Call of Duty: Online exclusively in China.
As of now, Activision has not issued a statement. Tencent did not respond to requests for a comment from news organizations.
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