CD Projekt Red, GOG, EA Games, and Microsoft Xbox suspend sales to Russia and Belarus

CD Projekt Red and GOG, EA Games, and Microsoft Xbox suspend sales to Russia and Belarus, while committing to Ukraine’s humanitarian efforts.

Prominent global gaming company CD Projekt Red, together with its subsidiary online platform GOG (formerly Great Old Games), as well as Electronic Arts and Microsoft have halted distribution and sales to Russia and Belarus.

Top gaming companies CD Projekt Red, GOG, EA, and Microsoft Xbox ban sales to Russia and Belarus. (Images: CD Projekt Red, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft)

The sudden and uncalled for invasion of Ukraine by Russia has led to many businesses supporting various international economic sanctions. The gaming industry was specifically mentioned by Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov in his appeal to businesses to denounce the brutal and unprovoked attack by Russian forces on Ukraine. Fedorov urged gaming companies for a temporary block of operations in Russian territories, including sales and accounts.

How have some of the most influential gaming companies and AAA-game publishers responded to this appeal from Ukraine? Read on to find out more.

CD Projekt Red and GOG

CD Projekt Red and its digital game platform halted sales to Russia and Belarus after Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov appealed to gaming and tech companies.

CD Projekt Red, publisher of the popular The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 games, took to social media to clarify its position in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

In light of the Russian military invasion in our neighboring country of Ukraine, until further notice the CD PROJEKT Group has made the decision to halt all sales of our games to Russia and Belarus. Today, we begin working with our partners to suspend digital sales and cease physical stock deliveries of CD PROJEKT Group products, as well as all games distributed on the GOG platform, to the territories of Russia and Belarus.

This includes business operations of its subsidiary, the online gaming DRM-Free platform GOG. On CD Projekt Red’s investor announcements, the company estimates its cumulative share of Russia and Belarus through over the past 12 months was 5.4% and 3.7%, respectively.

Days prior to the support of economic sanctions against Russia and Belarus, CD Projekt Red had committed donating to Ukraine. The company donated 1 million PLN (around US$220,000) to Polska Akcja Humanitarna (PAH), the Poland-based humanitarian institution that is one of the most active currently on the ground amidst the conflict.

Furthermore, GOG is teaming up with game developers to provide the profits from games such as Darkwood, Mousecraft, Slipways, and The War of Mine as donations to Ukraine.

Electronic Arts

Another major gaming company, EA Games, has declared its position in denouncing the Russian invasion.

Aside from suspending sales to Russia and Belarus, EA Games will be removing Russian teams from sports titles like FIFA.

In a statement that can be found at Electronic Arts' website, the company outlines its shock at the conflict and its support for Ukraine. Moreover, EA Games has stopped all new sales and content in Russia and Belarus:

We have made the decision to stop sales of our games and content, including virtual currency bundles, in Russia and Belarus while this conflict continues. As a result, our games and content will no longer be available for purchase in our Russian region storefront on Origin or the EA app, including through in-game stores. We are also working with our platform partners to remove our titles from their stores and stop the sale of new in-game content in the region.

The statement from Electronic Arts goes on to detail that it will be making changes to popular sports titles such as FIFA and NHL games. Russian teams will be removed from the roster of these games and EA will be evaluating other titles and areas where they can do the same.

Microsoft Xbox

In the aforementioned appeal for support and help, the Ukraine Prime Minister Myhailo Fedorov specifically mentions Xbox:

In response to this call and what could have the widest implications thus far, Microsoft and Xbox have suspended sales of their products and services in Russia.

Microsoft has dedicated not only to block sales to Russia and Belarus, but to provide cybersecurity technology to Ukraine.

In a blog post at the Microsoft official website by Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair of Microsoft, he states:

We are coordinating closely and working in lockstep with the governments of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, and we are stopping many aspects of our business in Russia in compliance with governmental sanctions decisions.

We believe we are most effective in aiding Ukraine when we take concrete steps in coordination with the decisions being made by these governments and we will take additional steps as this situation continues to evolve.

In addition to the halt of sales, Microsoft will actively support Ukraine to beef up its cybersecurity assets and help protect against the cyberattacks from Russia:

Since the war began, we have acted against Russian positioning, destructive or disruptive measures against more than 20 Ukrainian government, IT and financial sector organizations. We have also acted against cyberattacks targeting several additional civilian sites. We have publicly raised our concerns that these attacks against civilians violate the Geneva Convention.

Smith also reinforced Microsoft’s commitment to provide resources and financial aid to the United Nations, Red Cross, and other NGOs currently on the ground in Ukraine.

Other sanctions in the gaming and entertainment industry

While Sony has not formally declared joining the other gaming companies that have denounced the invasion of Ukraine, it appears something will be forthcoming. The gaming giant was due to debut Gran Turismo 7 in Russia along with the rest of the world, but the game has been pulled from Playstation Russia Store.

Moreover, the sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine have not been limited to gaming companies. Warner Bros. Pictures already pulled the release of the Robert Pattinson led superhero film The Batman in Russia.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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