Tim Sweeney promises Epic Games will not censor free speech
Tim Sweeney promises Epic Games will not censor free speech ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
Epic Games CEO and co-founder, Tim Sweeney has declared that the company will never punish players for speaking up on human rights and political issues.
He made the statement after Activision Blizzard banned and punished a Hearthstone Grandmaster for making a pro-Hong Kong democracy statement. It also severed ties with the casters that were on the livestream with him as he seemed to have their support. The company's decision is believed to be due to pressure from its Chinese investors.
Epic Games also has Chinese investors, with Tencent Games owning a stake of almost 40%. It acquired this share after investing $330 million in 2012. As Sweeney still owns a controlling share, he issued the statement as CEO, representing the company in support of freedom of speech.
Tencent has also been criticised lately for what appears to be the company's avoidance of calling League of Legends team, Hong Kong Attitude by its full name in their World Championship Play-In match. Instead, it was abbreviated to HKA during the broadcast. To put things into perspective, Tencent owns 100% of Riot Games, which is the developer of League of Legends. Riot Games denied this was the case and considering the name was fully displayed when the broadcast highlighted individual players, it could just be disgruntled fans looking for faults wherever they can find them.
The Hearthstone professional, Ng "blitzchung" Wai Chung was stripped of his prize money and banned from competitive Hearthstone for a year for his actions. This was all because he showed his support for the protests that have rocked Hong Kong for some time now. Sweeney was specifically asked what Epic's actions would be in such a situation when he made his statement.
Activision Blizzard has, with its actions, unwittingly brought the volatile Hong Kong situation into esports as a whole and not just their own titles. Any companies with Chinese investors will have numerous eyes scrutinizing every action they make.