Videogame developer Wargaming announced that it left Russia and Belarus following the former’s invasion of Ukraine and the latter’s support of Russia, despite estimating “substantial losses.”
The World of Tanks developer’s departure is especially significant because Wargaming was originally a Belarusian company. Their headquarters were relocated to Cyprus in 2011.
“Effective March 31 the company transferred its live games business in Russia and Belarus to local management of Lesta Studio that is no longer affiliated with Wargaming,” said a statement from the company posted on LinkedIn. “The company will not profit from this process either today or going forward. Much to the contrary, we expect to suffer substantial losses as a direct result of this decision.”
While the company did not explicitly list a reason for leaving the two countries, Wargaming employs over 500 people in Ukraine at their studio in Kyiv. The company also signaled support for Ukraine with a $1 million donation to the Ukrainian Red Cross. To help their employees in Kyiv, they utilized company resources “to provide alternate housing, early salary payments, additional funds to aid travel and relocation,” Wargaming said in a statement. They also noted that they would help employees’ families seek shelter in nearby countries.
The move could be in response to Ukrainian deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov calling Wargaming and others to close their Russian studios.
Wargaming added that they are still in the process of closing their studio in the Belarus capital of Minsk.
Live games will continue to be available for those in Russia and Belarus while the company is transitioning, but it is unclear what will be playable in the future.