Since Russia began its brutal invasion of Ukraine, numerous game companies, including the big three console makers and major publishers like Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, and Ubisoft have pulled out of the market, but what about publishers and developers operating within Putin’s sphere of influence? Obviously, they’ve been put in a difficult position, and today World of Tanks developer Wargaming has announced they’ve made the costly decision to shut down all development studios in Belarus and Russia. Wargaming was actually founded in Belarus (they’re headquartered in Cyprus now) and was the biggest video game developer in the country, so this can’t have been an easy decision.
World of Tanks will still be sold in Belarus and Russia, but not by Wargaming. In those two countries, the game will now be managed by Lesta Studio, with none of the proceeds going back to Wargaming. The company expects to incur “substantial losses” as a result of their withdrawal from the Russian and Belarusian markets…
Over the past weeks, Wargaming has been conducting a strategic review of business operations worldwide. The company has decided it will not own or operate any businesses in Russia and Belarus and will leave both countries. Effective March 31 the company transferred its live games business in Russia and Belarus to local management of Lesta Studio that is no longer affiliated with Wargaming. The company will not profit from this process either today or going forward. Much to the contrary we expect to suffer substantial losses as a direct result of this decision.
We will be completing the operational transition with all due speed while remaining in full compliance with all laws and ensuring the ongoing safety and support of our employees. During the transition period the live products will remain available in Russia and Belarus and will be operated by the new owner. Wargaming has also started the process of closing its studio in Minsk, Belarus.
We will be providing as much severance and support as possible to our employees affected by the change. Despite the magnitude of this decision, we as a company are confident in the future of our business and are committed to delivering quality games to our players.
This isn’t the first time Wargaming has been in the news in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Back in February, World of Tanks creative director Sergey Burkatovskiy was fired for expressing support for the invasion online.
We here at Wccftech hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and the safety of all Ukrainian citizens. If you wish to donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, head to this page.
World of Tanks is free-to-play on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and mobile platforms.
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