What just happened? More tech and gaming companies have joined the ever-growing list of firms pulling their services from Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. Activision Blizzard and Epic Games are pausing game sales and microtransactions in the country, while Netflix is suspending its streaming service.
Activision Blizzard president Daniel Alegre announced the decision in a letter to employees that was shared publicly. “Today, we are announcing that Activision Blizzard will be suspending new sales of and in our games in Russia while this conflict continues,” he wrote. The suspension will presumably apply to both physical and digital games.
Alegre also highlighted the contribution Activision Blizzard is making toward supporting the Ukrainian people. The company has raised over $300,000 by matching employee donations 2:1 and will increase the matching limit from $1,000 to $10,000.
Soon after Activision Blizzard made its plans public, Epic Games announced it was following suit, though it is not implementing a block on all of its services in Russia. “Epic is stopping commerce with Russia in our games in response to its invasion of Ukraine. We’re not blocking access for the same reason other communication tools remain online: the free world should keep all lines of dialogue open,” it tweeted.
Epic is stopping commerce with Russia in our games in response to its invasion of Ukraine. We’re not blocking access for the same reason other communication tools remain online: the free world should keep all lines of dialogue open.
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) March 5, 2022
Netflix became the next company to take action against Russia by suspending its service. This came as little surprise, given that a week earlier, it refused to carry the 20 free state channels required under the Russian Vitrina TV law, which requires audiovisual services with more than 100,000 subscribers to carry the channels.
CNBC writes that Netflix has just under 1 million subscribers in Russia, a fraction of the 222 million people who subscribe to the streamer worldwide.
The response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been extensive. In addition to the sanctions, we’ve seen credit card giants, Amazon, EA Sports, Apple, Intel, AMD, and many more pull or limit their various services and products. However, major cryptocurrency exchanges refuse to do the same—beyond what is required by law.