Microsoft, EA, and others cease sales to Russia in support of Ukraine

Posted on March 5, 2022

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov asked the games industry to reconsider selling their products and services in Russia and its ally Belarus. The original tweet tagged PlayStation and Xbox, but in a subsequent tweet called on EA, Ubisoft, Riot Games, and other gaming companies to do the same. In response, CD Projekt Red, Microsoft, and EA have all announced that they will indeed halt some or all new sales and services to Russia and Belarus.

The first to do so was CD Projekt Red, the developer of The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077. Based in Poland, a neighbour of Ukraine, the company is much closer to the conflict than any other developer who has made a commitment to suspend sales. They are suspending both physical and digital sales until further notice. In their statement, they said “The entire CD Projekt Group stands firm with the people of Ukraine. While we are not a political entity capable of directly influencing state matters, and don’t aspire to be one, we do believe that commercial entities, when united, have the power to inspire global change in the hearts and minds of ordinary people.” The developer is also suspending sales on its retro games online store

Microsoft and EA swiftly followed suit, releasing their own statements. Microsoft’s suspension covers not just Xbox products, but anything and everything under Microsoft’s umbrella. Microsoft’s statement reads, “Our single most impactful area of work almost certainly is the protection of Ukraine’s cybersecurity. We continue to work proactively to help cybersecurity officials in Ukraine defend against Russian attacks, including most recently a cyberattack against a major Ukrainian broadcaster.” Meanwhile, EA has also promised to halt game sales, and has included virtual currency bundles in the suspensions.

Nintendo has just announced that it can no longer process payments of rubles on its Eshop store, and is placing the Russian store under maintenance mode. This does not appear to come from a decision by Nintendo but rather a result of one of the many third-party payment processing services that have been blocked in Russia.

PlayStation, Nintendo, and Valve are the highest-profile games publishers that are yet to make a statement.