Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney addresses Chinese investor Tencent

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to address the ongoing anti-China backlash to the Epic Games Store.

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The Epic Games Store has had its share of backlash over the past few weeks. The most recent Internet kerfuffle surrounds Chinese company Tencent's investment in Epic Games. Some trolls and misinformed individuals have spread the rumor that Epic Games Store is actually Chinese spyware. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to set the record straight.


Here's Tim Sweeney's full statement posted to his personal Twitter page:

I support everyone’s right to complain about tech industry stuff. Epic’s store, with exclusive games and a spartan feature set, is a fine target for ire. But please help separate facts and opinions from the lies about spyware and foreign control.

I’m the controlling shareholder in Epic Games, and have been since 1991. We have a number of outside investors now. Tencent is the largest. All of Epic’s investors our friends and partners. None can dictate decisions to Epic. None have access to Epic customer data.

Tencent is a Chinese company founded in 1998. CEO Pony Ma and the other co-founders played a lot of Unreal Tournament back then, and visited Epic in the early 2000’s. In 2012 Epic was looking to move to online games, and we invited Tencent in as an investor to help us.

I’ve never regretted it, and the recent anti-China rage doesn’t change that even slightly, as its completely unfounded. Epic has only had positive interactions with Tencent at all levels.

All of Epic’s big decisions are made here in the USA and as CEO I’m 100% responsible for them. I’m grateful for everyone who has spoken in support. I also read and respectfully consider all dissenting arguments of fact and principle. Just please keep it real.


We caught up with Tim Sweeney at GDC 2018 and chatted with him about Tencent's investment. "They're just going around and making investments in companies they think have potential in the industry. They've been a good partner in just giving us advice, but we don't see them all that much actually," said Sweeney when asked about the relationship between Tencent and Epic Games. 

Tim Sweeney seen here eating nachos while thinking about Astroneer at GDC.
Tim Sweeney seen here eating nachos while thinking about Astroneer at GDC.

Sweeney just wants people to tell the truth, and not spread damaging rumors. There are legitimate gripes to have with the Epic Games Store, but review bombing of the Borderlands series on Steam and spreading anti-China rumors on the Internet is not constructive. For now, it appears that the Epic Games Store is not a China spyware plot here to take all of our memes. The Launcher Wars are really bringing out the worst in people. We will continue to report from the frontlines as needed.

CEO

Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 4, 2019 6:30 PM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney addresses Chinese investor Tencent

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      April 4, 2019 6:35 PM

      But because someone on the Internet said it might be true I am going to use this as a reason to shit on EGS ... fucking gamers.

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        April 4, 2019 7:12 PM

        That type of behavior is hardly limited to gamers.

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          April 4, 2019 7:13 PM

          Although it is limited to a very tiny subset of gamers so should probably find a better collective noun to use in the future.

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        April 4, 2019 9:00 PM

        But the Reddit detective agency has never been wrong before!

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      April 4, 2019 7:22 PM

      Good article. The anti-China sentiment that seems to be so popular in the USA is problematic.

      I'm afraid it is a gateway to anti-Chinese racism. :(

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        April 4, 2019 7:40 PM

        this is all just convenient racism.

        If they really don't like china, they wouldn't buy any iphones that are ... made in china, like all the rest of the things in their lives

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        April 4, 2019 8:05 PM

        you're mixing it up

        no rational person has beef with Chinese people

        rational people DO have beef with the Chinese government

        it's the same way people hate the American government

        many of us do too

        fuck every aspect of Chinese governance, but I wish the best for the people there who are subject to it

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          April 4, 2019 8:16 PM

          I don't think I'm mixing up anything. I think it's absolutely a thing for anti-Chinese government or business sentiment leading to (or supplementing) racism.

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            April 4, 2019 8:56 PM

            You are definitely mixing up anti-china vs anti-chinese. China is the US's number one global enemy whether you believe it or not. Nothing wrong with chinese people or chinese americans. They are systematically buying up US companies and slurping up our data. We are so fucked. Check out the Grindr story from the last few weeks. US is forcing them to sell it because china is using it for blackmail. Still not chinese people. Chinese government.

            I realize you're Rice-Rocketeer and you get upset at the slightest wiff of anti-chinese sentiment but you're 100% wrong. I'm a big fan of chinese dota and chinese players for what it's worth. Also my in-laws were sent to re-education camps. China is fucked up.

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              April 4, 2019 8:57 PM

              The problem is that there is a historical precedent for this. It's a well documented phenomenon:
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Peril

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              April 4, 2019 8:58 PM

              Also, you should read my posts again.

              I'm saying the anti-Chinese sentiment is problematic, not that it's necessarily wrong. There's a lot of shit that is fucked up in China, but does it normalize Chinese racism?

              Abso-fucking-lutely.

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                April 4, 2019 9:06 PM

                It is almost like China and Chinese people are related in some way.

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                  April 4, 2019 9:28 PM

                  Sure. But that doesn’t make the facts any less plain.

                  I hate the American government at present. I do not hate Americans. I do not blame folks for hating America right now.

                  We cannot prevent ignorant people from conflating the two and hating all Americans. It’s already a reality - obviously that happens.

                  Let us be plain and clear in our criticisms, I suppose. I understand the fear of a slippery slope, however. What is the solution then? Or are we just lamenting the circumstance?

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                    April 4, 2019 9:31 PM

                    "I do not blame folks for hating America right now."

                    when is it cool to hate or not hate america just so im aware

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                      April 4, 2019 10:12 PM

                      well, perhaps the part where we're locking up children seeking asylum and losing track of their parents on our own soil

                      or is that stuff a-ok?

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                        April 4, 2019 10:15 PM

                        though America has a long storied tradition of blowing up other countries to liberate them, so i don't think there's really much i can blame people for if they've hated america for some time now

                        but the american government != the american people

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                      April 5, 2019 4:51 AM

                      [deleted]

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                April 4, 2019 9:44 PM

                And from that day forward, all humans across the Earth stood in agreement that the authoritarian dictatorship of China must never be criticized because a 30-something American man might get his feelings hurt.

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                  April 4, 2019 9:45 PM

                  Your post is a 0% accurate interpretation of mine.

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                    April 4, 2019 10:26 PM

                    I took it to mean that you believe criticism of China could cause increased racism against Chinese people, and that implies the criticism should stop, doesn't it? I don't think racists are waiting for permission to be racist.
                    Sorry for the snarky, obtuse post. It should go without saying that I hope your fears about this don't come true.

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                      April 4, 2019 11:15 PM

                      Okay, 50%. Yes on the first part. No on the second part.

                      Remember that racism and alt-right inculcation are a gradual process. You don't wake up one day deciding to be racist. For most racists, it's many unconscious and conscious micro-decisions that lead to bigoted views.

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        April 4, 2019 9:57 PM

        I think these fears are overblown tbh. Most of our systemic racism issues seem to be deeply ingrained from our history, short of a war with china it will remain at the periphery to other racism here.

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          April 5, 2019 9:23 AM

          You must not read the news, like at all, regarding how China interacts with other countries trying IP, spying, buying stuff, manipulating currency, and many, many other things. It's not racism against the Chinese, it's well founded suspicion of their government and agencies like Tencent that have well known histories of bad activities.

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            April 5, 2019 11:44 AM

            And how much thought does the average american give to any of this? almost zero. worrying about it on a scale that say racism affects other races here is silly, and I say this as an "asian american" who considers himself educated on the absolutely appalling issues that china has.

            You said it yourself, its not racism against the chinese, its their government and by and large I think americans generally get this.

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        April 4, 2019 11:27 PM

        I'm fine with awareness being raised about how repressive the Chinese government is. Obviously generalized sentiments its people ("the Chinese always cheat!" is something I hear my Grandma say too often) are usually racist and I hope the difference is clear to most.

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        April 5, 2019 8:35 AM

        Yeah, it has absolutely nothing to do with a country not being democratic and taking shits on human rights.

        Not to mention how China is using massive amounts of tax payer money to subsidize their industries causing a crazy imbalance between the market driven countries industry and China..

        The only thing more crazy is that we allowed it to happen..

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        April 5, 2019 10:17 AM

        I'm afraid of it too - the same way as I'm afraid of it in Canada. It's double fucking infuriating that the Chinese government, and a relatively small number of super rich, super corrupt Chinese 'business' people are giving racists ammunition.

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      April 4, 2019 7:50 PM

      I like Tim Sweeny's whole vibe and attitude about stuff, even though I know he's said stuff I disagree with in the past. Dude is sincere and no-nonsense.

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        April 4, 2019 10:10 PM

        yeah, agreed! I really like the way he's handling this (and the shack's reporting on it)

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      April 4, 2019 8:00 PM

      But if he cools my outrage, what will I have to talk about with my friends? Tim Sweeney is all about himself, never considers what others want or need.

      Outrage fuels my entire social life, why must he kill it?

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      April 5, 2019 8:19 AM

      The biggest issue my friends have had with the Tencent connection is that they're one of the companies behind China's social credit system, not the spyware angle. They don't want to help fund a company taking part in that.

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        April 5, 2019 8:28 AM

        Do they also boycott Activision Blizzard and Riot Games?

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          April 5, 2019 8:33 AM

          I don't know? Looks like they have a 5% stake in AB, and 5% in Tesla as well.

          I don't seem to have any skin in any of this. I had heard of Tencent before, but I've been learning a lot about them the last few days.

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        April 5, 2019 9:26 AM

        That's a perfectly reasonable thing to want to stay away from. I can respect that.

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        April 5, 2019 9:27 AM

        It's okay to not like Tencent. HOWEVER the irony of going on Discord or Reddit to complain about it (which are the main 'gamer' outlets) is ... i mean it's delicious.

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          April 5, 2019 9:31 AM

          All of the discussion has been happening on various Slack teams :D

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          April 5, 2019 9:45 AM

          Thanks for letting me know about the Discord link, btw. Just deleted.

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          April 5, 2019 9:47 AM

          Sort of like bemoaning the predatory nature of loot boxes and cosmetics in games while celebrating Sweeney, Epic and their game store?

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      April 5, 2019 9:18 AM

      Tim was caught lying about their future practices with steam games. Tencent has 40% stock. You think, even for a second, that Tim is not going to lie to cover Tencent's involvement or desires? With a history like Tencent, even thinking that they WOULDN'T want to exploit such a relationship is naive. The practices of Epic are dishonest, dirty, and you think they are going to be all clean on their invasion of your steam files looking for friends and games? Riiiiiiiiggghhhhttt...

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      April 5, 2019 9:46 AM

      Tim has been pushing more or less deranged conspiracy theories about the windows store/platform for the last five years, so it's deliciously ironic that he's now getting a taste of his own medicine (and arguably, *these* conspiracy theories have a lot more merit than his own did).

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      April 5, 2019 11:37 AM

      I'd be more inclined to believe him had Epic not been caught making backups of your Steam account info (without the user's consent) using a work around to Steam's own API created for such purpose (Ubisoft uses this API to link your accounts with uplay for example).
      The whole thing is scummy and to me, it sets a precedent on the kind of business practices I can expect from them as a company.

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      April 5, 2019 12:04 PM

      Guess what? Tencent also owns large percentages of Ubisoft, Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, Paradox and a bunch of other large to medium sized video game companies. So do we assume that makes the Uplay launcher + their library and all of the Blizzard launcher games all compromised and infected with spyware as well? Is there a reason no one goes after those other companies that are also partnered with Tencent? Isolated Witch hunts are always the best am I right.

      Just a bunch of people who are jealous of the success of Epic Games, Fortnite, Unreal Engine, Epic Games Store and Tim Sweeney. Here is an idea work hard, try to be like those that own, do your own thing and be successful and stop complaining and whining like spoiled brats. My policy -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVrNHI4RdPM

      Even fucking Prince Harry is in on this shit train and saying they should ban Fortnite(a Free game) from kids due to being too popular and successful which they spin into addictive and evil.

      This right here -> " The Launcher Wars are really bringing out the worst in people. - Asif ". I'd bet money that Valve paid people to start this shit in the first place just to smear and discredit Epic and in hopes of stopping or slowing down the Juggernaut.

      I guess at the end of the day "It's not personal it's strictly business" and it is what it is and any new launcher or competitor will have to go through the ringer. Personally I will continue to buy games from the Epic Games Store and all the others digital stores that I choose to cause that is how I roll.

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        April 5, 2019 12:09 PM

        You're conflating acceptance with awareness, I think.

        And you're seriously going to post something like Valve paying people to start shit? Really?

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          April 5, 2019 12:34 PM

          "And you're seriously going to post something like Valve paying people to start shit? Really?" why not, you think Valve are saints? Look around you the internet is corrupt anything goes, it could easily happen. Having said that Valve could have 100% nothing to do with it but they could as well and no one will probably ever know.

          Honestly at the end of the day I could care less who sells my video games, I just want to play them on my PC and my hard drives. I do however dislike it in any industry when X company is singled out and others are doing the same thing or worse. That is my only beef with this whole situation, I am not loyal to Valve or Epic or any other digital store my loyalty will always be to the video games for that is what really matters.

          Keep in mind this in all just my opinion, so it is just words on the NET of what I am thinking no one has to agree with it and that is 100% cool and I respect that.

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            April 5, 2019 12:41 PM

            I don't accuse people of things just out of the blue with no reason to think it's happening. Don't expect to have a good conversation from that starting point.

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              April 5, 2019 1:16 PM

              ? , nothing you said bothered or offended me.

              Do you think it is cool for everyone to "accuse people of things just out of the blue with no reason" like in Epic's case cause that is what everyone is doing? This was my point anyone can accuse anyone or like I just did randomly point the finger at Valve and say they caused the fabricated hate on Epic(with the whole infected with spyware etc) it's really no different and all stupid shit and could be/is groundless.

              All this sort of shit is stupid and pointless no matter who it is, not sure why my random accusation on Valve bothers you, I don't think it is any different than the shit piling the majority are doing to Epic.

              Anyways I like to think we are Bros and friends and I hate this discussion over others hate make us dislike each other.

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                April 5, 2019 1:31 PM

                Of course I don't think that's cool, but that's not 'everyone' doing that. It was not obvious to me from reading your post that you meant it as a criticism of that in particular.

                There are other reasons people may not like or want to use Epic's stuff; for me, it was the fact that my UE dev tool suddenly became the epic launcher and started downloading fortnite with an automatic update; they're going to have to do a lot to convince me to do stuff with them after that.

                But don't worry a bit about this somehow causing a rift; we're cool.

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                  April 5, 2019 1:44 PM

                  "the fact that my UE dev tool suddenly became the epic launcher and started downloading fortnite with an automatic update" crazy, I don't use UE dev tools so I had no idea they did that, that is pretty stupid if you ask me. Having said that when I first installed their launcher I swear they auto started to install Fortnite too that is pretty dumb, at least you can stop it though so that is good.

                  I get what your saying on that front that is pure marketing bullshit to force a product and it is not cool. They should be confident enough with their product to not have to do that MS is the absolute worse at that. This is the problem with most companies that have a lot of money they go to marketing for advice/direction and they end up tainting most companies with their shit/sketchy marketing practices.

                  Cool Man, I am glad :) \m/

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        April 5, 2019 12:19 PM

        You really think Valve paid people to come up with this controversy?

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      April 5, 2019 12:23 PM

      Make me a pretty salad game launcher! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XAPxidW7pU

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