Gaming giants Activision Blizzard & EA have said they’re putting sales of their products in Russia on hold, while promising to facilitate efforts to help those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
“We are announcing the suspension of new sales of and in our games in Russia while this conflict continues,” Activision Blizzard said in a tweet on Saturday.
The company behind such franchises as World of Warcraft, Diablo, Call of Duty and Candy Crush added that it was “committed to helping those impacted by the terrifying violence taking place in Ukraine.”
On Friday, a similar move was made by Electronic Arts, which owns Battlefield, Need for Speed and The Sims, as well as a popular line of EA Sports titles, including FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Live, and NHL.
Russian gamers won’t be able to buy the company’s games and content, including virtual currency bundles, through Origin or the EA app until the fighting in Ukraine stops. EA said in a statement that it was working with its other partners to remove its titles from their stores in the Russian region.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” the company proclaimed, adding that the safety of those in the conflict area was its “primary concern” and that it was “seeking to understand” how it could help.
Earlier this week, EA already removed all Russian teams from their FIFA and NHL games in protest against the invasion.
A whole range of prominent foreign brands, including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, IKEA, H&M, Airbnb and others, have suspended their operations in Russia over the past week. Among them was Polish gaming company CD Projekt Group, which developed Cyberpunk 2077 and the iconic Witcher franchise.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Fedorov took to Twitter to call on gaming companies to act against Russia. He directly tagged Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Epic Games, Rockstar, Tencent and others in his post.
Moscow sent its troops to Ukraine last Thursday, saying that it was the only way to stop the “genocide” in the Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which broke away from Kiev in 2014. The goal of the operation is to “denazify” and “demilitarize” the Ukrainian government, not to occupy the neighboring state, according to Russia.
Kiev has denied Moscow’s justification for the incursion, saying that an unprovoked war has been waged against it and calling for international support.