In the wake of the difficulties Blizzard has had this week with pro-Hong Kong statements at its professional Hearthstone events (and elsewhere), Riot Games has issued a statement regarding its policies for political speech at this weekend’s League of Legends World Championship Group Stage. The message comes from John Needham, the global head of League of Legends esports, and was posted to the official Twitter account of LoL esports:

The salient parts are that Riot has “reminded our casters and pro players to refrain from discussing any of these topics on air.” “These topics” include those that fall under the category of “political, religious, or otherwise,” which “cannot be fairly represented in the forum our broadcast provides.” The goal is to “keep our broadcasts focused on the game, the sport, and the players,” so that they “do not escalate potentially sensitive situations.”

Seeing as how Riot Games is 100% owned by Tencent, it’s perhaps not surprising that the company would come out with this kind of stance. What would be more surprising is if it’s adhered to this weekend, not only by the players but by fans in attendance at the event and those watching via livestream. There’s no way that Riot management isn’t cognizant of how things are likely to go, so this reads more like a “cover our asses” statement that they can point to afterwards and say, “Well, we tried, but things were out of our control.”

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Can you give us gaming news without being so biased?

    It is very simple… Gaming tournaments are about the game… It’s both a promotion for the game itself aswell as to keep its current player base interested.
    They do NOT want to offend anyone by allowing any discussions about politics, religion, etc. It’s nothing to do with Tencent owning a part of any company…. If it was then they would discreetly show support for China in terms of allowing small comments in support of China or trying to persuade their player base to support China.

    All they’re doing is saying “talk about the game… Don’t talk about your religion, politics or anything that could offend”

    If I owned a gaming company I would do the exact same thing…
    If you view your opinions on my platform in support for China – Banned
    If you view your opinions on my platform in support for HongKong – Banned
    If you talk bad about any religion – Banned

    It’s nothing to do with me being in favour of anything. I mean if you must know I’m actually a supporter of Hong Kong so that just shows how unbiased I actually am.

    • How’s it feel being worse than holocaust deniers? Atleast most of them were born decades after it happened. “Why are they talking about the treatment of jews during the 1936 olympics? It’s about sports this isn’t the place to call someone out about genocide, thats just unprofessional.” Disgusting

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