World of Tanks developer Wargaming to cease trading in Russia and Belarus amid ongoing invasion of Ukraine
World of Tanks developer Wargaming has announced that it will no longer operate in Russia or Belarus amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
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Wargaming is best known as the developer behind the free games World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes, in which players compete with historically accurate war machines. Players also have the option to pay real money to acquire rarer vehicles, parts and more.
As VentureBeat reported, the company was founded in Belarus in 1998, and although it grew to become one of Eastern Europe’s biggest companies, it moved to Cyprus in 2011.
Posting a statement on LinkedIn, the developer concisely opened up: “Wargaming announces its decision to leave Russia and Belarus.”
“Over the past few weeks, Wargaming has conducted a strategic review of business operations worldwide,” the statement revealed. “The company has decided that it will not own or operate any business in Russia and Belarus and will leave the two countries.”
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“Effective March 31, the company transferred its live game operations in Russia and Belarus to the local management of Lesta Studio. [formerly Wargaming Saint Petersburg] which is no longer affiliated with Wargaming,” they explained.
Wargaming confessed, “The company will not profit from this process, either now or in the future. On the contrary, we expect to incur substantial losses as a direct result of this decision. »
“We will complete the operational transition as quickly as required while remaining in full compliance with all laws and ensuring the continued safety and support of our employees,” the studio then assured. “During the transition period, 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,” they confirmed. “We will provide as much severance and support as possible to our employees affected by the change.”
Wargaming concluded, “Despite the magnitude of this decision, as a company we are confident in the future of our business and are committed to delivering quality games to our players.”
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A 2013 news article on Wargaming revealed that Russians made up a significant portion of the studio’s audience, with the country boasting 80% brand penetration, local concurrent users exceeding 1.1 million and a contribution of one-third of the studio’s player base – 15 million players out of 40 million.
World of Tanks even reached the middle of the 20 most visited websites in Russia, even beating out Twitter, BlogSpot and Rutracker. A Venturebeat article from 2020 shows that World of Tanks has grown to 160 million players worldwide.
Previously, the studio parted ways with creative director Sergey “SerB” Burkatovskiy after expressing support for Russia, subsequently announcing that they would also provide support to their affected personnel and their families.
“At Wargaming, the safety and security of our employees is the top priority,” Wargaming wrote on February 28. “Currently, all available company resources are assisting and supporting our more than 550 colleagues: providing alternate accommodation, advance salary payments, additional funds to facilitate travel and relocation. »
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“We help the families of our employees to travel to neighboring countries and organize their accommodation,” explained Wargaming. “And finally, today Wargaming Kyiv is donating $1 million to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
The developer explained, “These funds will be used to support Ukrainian hospitals and doctors, citizens who have been displaced, and other vital humanitarian organization activities as needed. We will be able to continue humanitarian aid if the situation requires it.
Other game companies that have offered charity to Ukraine or refused to operate in Russia due to the ongoing invasion include Frogwares, GSC Game World, Vostok Games, 11 bit studios, Bungie, Ubisoft, Techland , DICE, The Embracer Group, etc.
Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have also suspended some or all of their services in Russia.
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