In response to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, Activision Blizzard president and COO Daniel Alegre has announced the company “will be suspending all new sales of and games in Russia in the meantime that this conflict is ongoing.” In an internal note to his staff, Alegre wrote, “The company will match employee donations to charities offering immediate assistance in the region. Together, we’ve raised more than 300,000 dollars in this effort. The next week we’ll include additional charities to select from, and will increase the matching limit from $1,000 to $10,000.”
He also praised “the amazing contributions made by those who work with us in Poland and elsewhere, where they have donated their time to aid Ukrainian refugees and other people who are in dire need.” According to the UN Refugee Agency, Poland has accepted more than 280,000 refugees from Ukraine.
Epic Games has also announced on Twitter’s Epic Games Newsroom on Twitter the company is “stopping trade with Russia in its games in reaction to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.” The company also confirmed that even though sales will be halted, Russians will still be playing its games. “We’re refusing to block access due to the same reason as other communications tools are still available and the world is free to maintain all channels of communication open.”
Epic as well as Activision Blizzard join companies including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and CD Project in ending the sales of their games to Russia. Russia is a major market for videogames. It is ranked as number eight worldwide, with an estimated revenues of $US2.7 billion by 2021, in accordance with Statista and also states that 53 percent of Russians frequently engage in games using a PC.
Vice-premier of Ukraine and digital transformation minister Mykhailo Fedorov is actively advocating for sanctions against tech companies and has written an open letter to “To all gaming development businesses and esports platforms” insisting that they stop sanctioning Russia by saying that “in 2022, the advancement of technology could be the most effective alternative to tanks and multiple launches of rockets (hrad) as well as missiles.”