Nintendo and PlayStation join Russian market exodus

10 Mar 2022

Image: © Alena/Stock.adobe.com

PlayStation and Nintendo have halted product shipments to Russia, while Amazon, Bumble and Lumen cut off services to the country.

Nintendo and Sony’s game division have joined the global gaming industry’s response to the invasion of Ukraine, with the Japanese gaming giants halting shipments to the Russian market.

Sony announced yesterday (9 March) on its PlayStation Twitter account that it “joins the global community” in calling for peace in Ukraine.

Future Human

The company said it has suspended all software and hardware shipments, the PlayStation store and the launch of Gran Turismo 7 in Russia.

To support humanitarian aid and “the victims of this tragedy”, Sony also said it made a $2m donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children.

Nintendo also made the decision to pull back from the Russian market, halting product shipments “for the foreseeable future”. However, the company said this is due to “considerable volatility surrounding the logistics of shipping and distributing physical goods”, Reuters reported.

The company is also delaying the release of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, citing “recent world events”.

The global spotlight was put on the gaming industry last week after Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, urged all game development companies to take action and e-sports platforms to block Russian and Belarusian teams.

Fedorov shared a letter on Twitter, tagging Xbox and PlayStation. Xbox’s owner Microsoft made the decision last week to suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russia.

Other companies in the global tech sector have taken measures against Russia in the past week.

Amazon

Amazon quietly cut off its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, to new customers in Russia and Belarus last weekend, before publishing a blog post detailing further measures it has taken in response to the conflict.

The company announced on 8 March that it has suspended access to its Prime Video service for customers based in Russia. Amazon added that it is no longer taking Russian orders for New World, which is “the only video game we sell directly to Russia”.

“Unlike some other US technology providers, Amazon and AWS have no data centres, infrastructure or offices in Russia, and we have a long-standing policy of not doing business with the Russian government,” the company said in the post.

Bumble

Russia is also feeling the heat from the online dating industry, as Bumble announced it is discontinuing operations in the country.

The dating app provider made the announcement alongside its financial results for 2021. Bumble said it will remove all of its apps from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store in Russia and Belarus.

“The combined revenue from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus was approximately 2.8pc of total Bumble Inc annual revenue in 2021, almost all in Badoo app and other revenue,” the company said. “Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine contribute less than 0.1pc of Bumble app revenue.”

After sharing its financial results and its measures against Russia, Bumble shares went up by more than 40pc, Protocol reported.

Lumen cuts internet services

Internet service provider Lumen has made the decision to cut off its connection to Russian customers “immediately” due to “increased security risk inside Russia”.

“We’ve begun customer notifications, shutting down the business from a legal and regulatory standpoint as well as taking other steps for exiting the business in region,” Lumen said on its website.

The US internet provider said it does not have any “consumer customers” in Russia, but has an “extremely small number of enterprise customers” that will no longer receive its services.

Lumen is the second major US internet supplier to cut off services in Russia this week, following the decision by Cogent Communications, which was reportedly the second-largest internet carrier out of Russia.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com