Riot clears up whether its casters can say 'Hong Kong'

Riot clears up whether its casters can say 'Hong Kong'

League of Legends maker Riot Games has publicly addressed concerns that commentators had been told to not say 'Hong Kong' during broadcasts.

Fans of the smash hit MOBA had noticed that shoutcasters were not saying the full name of team Hong Kong Attitude, abbreviating it to HKA. At one point - as captured by Reddit - a commentator even corrects himself to using initials midway through saying the team's full name. 

Taking to Twitter, the game's comms lead Ryan Rigney (pictured) said that there is nothing to be concerned about and that commentators regularly switch between a team's full name and initials.

“We want to correct some confusion that we are seeing regarding our coverage of Hong Kong Attitude,” Rigney wrote.

“As you can see from our official League of Legends Twitter account, we refer to their team interchangeably by both their full name and their tricode abbreviation HKA, as we routinely do with all the teams in our ecosystem.”

He continued: "To make this as explicit as possible, we aren’t telling anyone to avoid saying ‘Hong Kong.’ We’d just rather the team be referred to by its full name. There’s been some confusion internally about this as well and we’re working to correct it. We should have better prepped our casters and we’re reiterating this policy to them today.

"One more personal note on this: I think everyone is very sensitive to this issue right now given the events of the last week. We should have better prepped our casters and we’re reiterating this policy to them today."

This follows games firm Blizzard banning a pro-Hearthstone player from taking part in competitive events and refusing them their prize money after he called for Hong Kong's liberation from China. This has caused a wave of protests in the community, with Blizzard staff conducting a walkout to show their displeasure with the company's stance.

The fact that Riot Games is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese tech and entertainment giant Tencent will likely have stoked fears of the League of Legends maker wanting to toe the official line when it came to Hong Kong. Tencent also holds a small stake of around five per cent in Activision Blizzard.

This statement from Riot would make it seem that the Chinese firm isn't policing the companies it is involved with. Fortnite maker Epic Games - around 40 per cent of which is owned by Tencent - has also said that its players are free to express their political views and opinions on human rights.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.