Belarusian developer Wargaming has announced that it is leaving Russia. As posted on its official LinkedIn page, the World of Tanks developer has decided to discontinue all business in both Russia and Belarus. It has transferred the management of its live games to Lesta Studio in a move that it anticipates will cause it to “suffer substantial losses.”
Additionally, Wargaming has begun the process of closing down its studio in Minsk, Belarus. This decision follows a strategic review of its worldwide operations. Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, several companies have withdrawn to avoid supporting the Russian markets.
Wargaming continued on to confirm that its live games will remain available in Russia and Belarus during the transition period. That includes World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes. The publisher intends to complete the transition as fast as possible while ensuring the safety of its employees.
A big risk
Wargaming is taking a huge risk with this decision. Russia makes up its largest market, with World of Tanks being extremely popular there. Withdrawing from the market entirely will result in huge revenue hits until a stronger international presence is established.
In February, Wargaming was forced to fire its creative director, Sergey Burkatovskiy. He spoke out in support of the war, a move the publisher later distanced itself from. From firing Burkatovskiy, to leaving Russia, Wargaming isn’t playing around. It does not want anything to do with Russia at this point.
Given the huge financial losses that will likely follow, this doesn’t appear to just be some PR stunt either. Its higher-ups clearly care about Ukraine and are willing to take the financial blow to make that point. All we can hope for is that the support of Wargaming and other organizations pressures an end to the war.