The studio behind popular online military games such as ‘World of Tanks,’ ‘World of Warships’ and ‘World of Warplanes,’ “Wargaming”, has announced it will be completely shutting down operations in Russia and in its native Belarus, where it was founded.
The company announced the decision in a statement posted on its official website, saying it had already started the process of closing its studio in Minsk and has transferred the business of operating its games in Russia and Belarus to Lesta Studio, a Russian developer that Wargaming acquired in 2011 but is now “no longer affiliated” with.
“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,” Wargaming admitted in the statement.
Nevertheless, the studio maintained that it will be completing the transition “with all due speed” while sticking to local laws and ensuring the safety and support of its employees. It added that the live products and services will remain available for Russians and Belarusians throughout this period, as they will be operated by the new games’ operator.
Though it did not provide a specific reason for the decision, it is more than likely connected to the ongoing military operation of Russia in Ukraine, as well as the strict sanctions placed on all Russian and Belarusian companies after the start of the operation. Wargaming has also repeatedly expressed support for Ukraine during this conflict, has donated a million dollars to the Ukrainian Red Cross and has fired a creative director for expressing support for Putin’s operation. Thus, the company’s decision to leave the Russian market was expected.