Before we get into the meat of this post, we'd like to start by noting that it's not our job to tell you what to think or how to feel about this topic. It's up to you to do the research and figure that stuff out for yourself. That said, invasions and wars have a widespread effect on a lot of things – down to the actions (and reactions) of video game companies. And, since this is a site that writes about video games, it's our responsibility to inform you as to what game companies are doing in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The overall gist of the situation is that a lot of game companies are pulling their services from Russia. Not all of them are. Some are electing to continue to sell game items and donate the proceeds to help the people in Ukraine. Not all game developers made this decision on their own. In some cases, the companies that process subscriptions and payments made the decision for them.
You may wonder why any of these companies would get involved in this instead of just carrying on as they normally do. For a lot of people, this may seem like they're getting involved where they shouldn’t. After all, it's their job to make games and entertain people and some may feel that punishing the people of Russia by taking away their games does nothing to help stop the war in Ukraine.
There are a few answers. In the case of payment processing, that's a smart move for any company of that type based in a country that has issued sanctions against Russia. As a company, they'd probably like to continue taking everyone's money. It’s what they're there to do.
As for the companies not dealing with payment processing woes and just putting a halt to things themselves, there are a few reasons for doing this: One is that while they could continue to sell to Russia and donate the proceeds to Ukraine, taxes are being paid on those sales in Russia. This means money from game sales goes into the country's coffers and likely from there to help fund the invasion. The other bit of reasoning behind actions like this is that all these (small on their own) inconveniences piled together may encourage Russian citizens to step in. That's not to say that Russian citizens aren't trying to do something. Protest footage from several cities shows otherwise.
But, in the end, it's for each company to decide how they want to go about things and it's up to the gamers to decide if they want to continue to support each company based on their actions.
That said, who's doing what? Well, we have a list for you. However, as it seems more companies are making similar decisions every day, it will likely not be complete.
Let's start with the company that had to suspend sales in Russia due to payment processing issues. Last Tuesday, Digital Extremes announced they would no longer be able to take payment from players in Russia – no matter the platform. This is due to their payment processor, Digital River, refusing to process transactions from Russia. They did add, however, that they would be letting people know when that changes.
The following day, EA Sports announced they would be removing the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from their FIFA line. This includes FIFA 22 as well as mobile and online games. At the same time, Bloober, a developer of scary games like The Medium, announced they would be pulling their titles in both Russia and Belarus. CD Projekt Red also announced they would halt all sales to Russia and Belarus and that at the time of the announcement they were already working with partners to do so. PlayStation pulled Grand Turismo 7. Microsoft halted new sales in Russia and announced they are stopping business there in part to be in compliance with government sanctions. And, finally Activision Blizzard and Epic Games have stopped sales as well.
On a more internal front, Wargaming fired World of Tanks creative director Sergey Burkatovskiy after he voiced support for Russia invading Ukraine on Facebook. The post in question has since been deleted, but it was enough for the Belarusian company to terminate his contract and issue a statement saying that that was [Burkatovskiy's] personal opinion, which categorically does not coincide with the position of the company.
Some companies did take less drastic measures. Hi-Rez announced that they would continue sales in Russia and simply donate all profits from March and April to UNICEF. The Pokemon Company simply announced that they'd be donating $200,000 USD to Global Giving to help with humanitarian efforts.
Speaking of donations and helping out, a post on Ukie.org listed a few ways for the games industry, specifically in the UK, to get involved. It also includes a link to a site tracking information on sanctions against Russia, as well as links to charities that are currently working to help those who need it.
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About the Author
QuintLyn is a long-time lover of all things video game related will happily talk about them to anyone that will listen. She began writing about games for various gaming sites a little over ten years ago and has taken on various roles in the games community.
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