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World of Tanks developer Wargaming has announced that it will leave Russia and Belarus, and expects to make “substantial losses” as a result.
Announced on LinkedIn, the company said that it had transferred its live games business in the two countries to Lesta Studio, which is no longer affiliated with the company. It has also begun closing its Minsk office in Belarus.
“The company will not profit from this process either today or going forward,” reads a statement. “Much to the contrary we expect to suffer substantial losses as a direct result of this decision.” It added: “We will be providing as much severance and support as possible to our employees affected by the change.”
While no specific reasoning was given for the move, it’s more than likely been spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as sanctions placed on Russian and Belarussian companies as a result. Wargaming has previously donated $1 million to the Ukrainian Red Cross, and fired a creative director for expressing support for the invasion. The company has provided internal support for the 550 employees in its Kiev office.
Ukrainian deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov had previously asked Wargaming (and other companies) to close its offices in Russia.
Wargaming was founded in Minsk, but moved its headquarters to Cyprus in 2011. The company makes and publishes hugely successful games like World fo Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes. As recently as 2019, Statista polls pointed to World of Tanks as the most popular game in Russia.
It’s not clear what the long-term future of the company’s games is in Russia and Belarus, but it says its live games will remain playable “during the transition period”.
IGN has put together a guide on how to help Ukrainian civilians, and huge swathes of the games and entertainment industries have been voicing support and fundraising since the invasion.
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Source: IGN Video Games All