What just happened? Belarusian World of Tanks developer Wargaming has announced that it is pulling out of Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine. The company says it has been conducting a strategic review of business operations worldwide over the last few weeks and has decided it will no longer own or operate any businesses in either country.
Wargaming wrote in a LinkedIn post that it transferred its live games business in Russia and Belarus to the local management of Saint Petersburg-based Lesta Studio, which is no longer affiliated with the company. Wargaming emphasized that it will not profit from this move but instead expects to experience substantial losses as a result of the decision.
During the transition period, live products will remain available in Russia and Belarus and will be operated by the new owner. Wargaming added that the company is also in the process of closing down its studio in Minsk, Belarus.
"Heads of Products and Services will be meeting with their teams shortly to discuss the impact of this decision on each department," the company wrote in the press release.
While Wargaming doesn't mention the reason behind its decision, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions placed on it and Belarus will doubtlessly have led to the move.
Russian Victor Kislyi founded Wargaming in the Belarus capital of Minsk but moved its headquarters to Cyprus in 2011. It has over 19 offices globally, including in Australia, Paris, Chicago, Berlin, and England.
A few weeks ago, World of Tanks creative director Sergey Burkatovskiy came out in public support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Wargaming, which employs hundreds of developers in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, said that the statement was his own opinion, and it categorically does not coincide with the position of the studio. Burkatovskiy was fired from the company.