Activision Blizzard Halts Games in Russia
Activision Blizzard is the latest international company to sanction Russia: The gaming giant says it has stopped all sales of its games, as well as in-game purchases, in Russia. Daniel Alegre, the president and chief operating officer at Activision Blizzard, confirmed the video game holding company is the latest to cut ties with Russia in protest of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We are doing everything possible to assist employees and their families who are being directly affected by this tragedy,” Alegre stated in a publicly shared letter to Activision Blizzard’s CEO and all employees. “If you or a colleague needs support, please do not hesitate to reach out to your manager or local HR leaders.”
Activision Blizzard is making great strides to provide a supportive, nurturing company culture for all employed at its Santa Monica, California, headquarters and all worldwide subsidiaries. In addition, Alegre reminded employees, “Our employee assistance program is available to those who need emotional support during this difficult time.”
Activision Blizzard Joins Gaming Companies Banning Russia
Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. The attack is the most significant military attack on a sovereign state in Europe since World War II. As a result, many electronic entertainment companies, including Blizzard Activision, have halted business with Russia out of continued support for Ukraine.
Ukraine’s First Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov asked the gaming industry to “temporarily block all Russian and Belarusian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belarusian teams and gamers in all international esports events, and cancel all international events held in the territory of Russia and Belarus.” The companies heard his pleas loud and clear and quickly responded with decisive action.
EA Games removed Russian teams from the FIFA and NHL games in addition to cutting all sales in Russia and Belarus. Epic Games, the developers of Fortnite, stopped commerce with Russia in its games but confirmed that it would not deny Russian players access to Epic games. “Epic is stopping commerce with Russia in our games in response to its invasion of Ukraine. However, we are not blocking access for the same reason other communication tools remain online: The free world should keep all lines of dialogue open,” Epic Games Newsroom tweeted.
Amazon Games suspended the Russian localization of their games. “We were looking into localizing New World for Russia, and we stopped that,” explained Christoph Hartmann, the vice president of Amazon Games.
Microsoft announced its plans to halt new sales of products and services, including Xbox games and all products connected to Windows, Office, and Microsoft 365, in Belarus and Russia. Netflix has also suspended its services in Russia, according to CNBC.
“We stand with the Ukrainian people and will provide updates on any new actions we take as this crisis continues to unfold,” shared Alegre.
Activision Blizzard Supports Ukraine
In the companywide letter, Alegre explained how the company that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick founded supported the people of Ukraine. “Activision Blizzard will be suspending new sales of, and in, our games in Russia while this conflict continues,” he stated. “I also want to take a moment to recognize the incredible work of our teams to support the Ukrainian people. The company is matching employee donations 2:1 to organizations providing immediate relief in the region.”
Alegre continued, “I’d also like to applaud the tremendous contributions from our colleagues in Poland, where people have volunteered their time to assist Ukrainian refugees and others in need. We continue to work with them to find ways we can further assist this effort.”