Tencent is a dominating figure in the gaming world
— moreso in China, where it publishes countless mobile and western-developed games, but it’s also a pretty dang big deal in the US as well. It either owns or owns shares of companies up and down the coast, from Riot Games to Epic, and while it generally only applies a light touch to both, apparently its dominance has gotten the attention of some people down in Washington DC.
This comes to us from a new report posted on Reuters
, which shows that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is currently in talks with Tencent, trying to determine if their ownership of the aforementioned Riot and Epic Games should prove to be a national security risk
. Apparently, they’ve been doing this since late 2020.
The concern, as you might be able to guess, is that Tencent is closely tied to the Chinese government
, and since it handles a lot of personal data from the US citizens who play their very popular games, the possibility of that data being exploited is very real. If the US national security panel ruling over the case determines that Tencent is misusing — or has the potential to misuse — this data, then they can force Tencent to divest from both companies.
For what it’s worth, both Epic Games and Riot have come to Tencent's defense
— Epic Games claims that Tencent doesn’t get any user data, while a Riot representative has said that tencent has implemented "industry-leading practices" to protect player data, although that’s not as reassuring as the representative might have thought it would be: after all, he doesn’t specify who the data is being protected from.
I wouldn’t hold my breath on Tencent being forced to do anything — but the possibility still exists. Which must be worrying for the multi-billion dollar company. I’ll try to not lose any sleep over it.