Tencent Games Ends Honor of Kings Partnership With Burberry

A partnership signed between UK-based luxury brand Burberry and Tencent Games at the end of last year to create skins in its popular MOBA game Honor of Kings appears to be over this morning.

According to an official post on the Chinese social media network Weibo by an Honor of Kings representative, the deal is off.

“The ‘Honor of Kings’ project team has now decided to cancel the new skins of ‘Yao’ and ‘Spirit of Forest & Ocean Legend’ skin project with Burberry,” a translation of the post reads. “We will continue to work hard to continuously improve the gaming experience of the majority of players.”

Burberry signed the deal with Tencent Games in November of 2020, with the hope of creating in-game activations that promoted the various products of the luxury brand. At the time the deal was announced, both Tencent Games and Burberry said that they were targeting China’s “fashion-forward, digital-first customers” with this new joint endeavor.

Burberry’s stance on using cotton sourced from China’s Xinjiang region has caused a backlash amongst fans. A source close to Honor of Kings developer TiMi Studios told The Esports Observer that “severe and massive player backlash in China against the skins led to the cancellation.” A recent poll found here, conducted by the company provides anecdotal evidence on the feelings of fans towards the new skins. Around 85% of 11K respondents said they would not purchase the skins.

 Recent research claims that over 1M people, a majority of which are Uighur Muslims, are being forced into hard labor in cotton fields in the region. China denies this, saying that it has detained these people to stop terrorism and radicalization. Several companies have issued similar statements of concern about the situation in the region and are beginning to feel the wrath of the government, consumers, and businesses in China

Editor’s note: This story was updated with additional information.

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