Yesterday, we reported on the extraordinary (and not in a good way) situation at Blizzard, where the company banned professional Hearthstone player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung for one year and reneged on giving him his season earnings. The decision came in light of Blitzchung protesting China’s ongoing treatment of Hong Kong during a livestreamed post-game interview on the official Taiwanese Hearthstone stream. Since then, discussion has arisen about how other companies might react in this situation, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has made his stance on the subject perfectly clear.
On Twitter, Sweeney wrote: “Epic supports the rights of Fortnite players and creators to speak about politics and human rights.” When someone noted that Chinese company Tencent owns a substantial percentage of Epic Games, Sweeney responded across a series of tweets: “Epic is a US company and I’m the controlling shareholder. Tencent is an approximately 40% shareholder, and there are many other shareholders including employees and investors. (A situation like how Blizzard behaved) will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder.”
— Mike??Suszek (@mikesuszek) October 9, 2019
This is a comforting and definitive stance for the Epic Games CEO to take. Tim Sweeney has taken a lot of flack for matters warranted and also utterly unwarranted, but this is a case where we can all rally around him. Epic Games may be bolstered by Chinese dollars, but that doesn’t mean it has to sell out to China.