The Medium and Blair Witch developer Bloober Team has halted the sales of its games in Russia in Belarus as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Bloober Team says this ban will come into effect on Steam first, with other storefronts to follow.
Why is Bloober Team taking its games down from sale in Russia and Belarus?
In the wake of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, several developers voiced their condemnation of the invasion. Devs such as Book of Demons creator Thing Trunk have imposed punitive price increases on Russian game sales (earning themselves a hefty review bomb in the process), but Bloober Team is going a step further and removing its games from sale in Russia and its ally Belarus. In a Twitter thread, Bloober Team acknowledges that its decision "might affect many Russian and Belarussian players", but that it needs to take whatever steps it can to stop the war. The dev also says it won't "stay neutral" when lives are at stake.
In addition to removing its games from sale, Bloober Team also says it's offering internships to Ukrainian civilians with game development experience, with the added benefit of helping its interns to find accommodation and prepare the necessary documentation. Any interested parties can email the studio's HR team or DM any of Bloober's social media channels for more information. This is part of what Bloober Team describes as an attempt to "[show] a full solidarity with the Ukrainian people".
How else is the gaming industry reacting to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
Many developers and industry professionals have reacted with horror and condemnation when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This War of Mine developer 11 bit studios, for example, declared that it would donate all of the proceeds from that game to the Ukrainian Red Cross for a week after the invasion began. World of Tanks developer Wargaming paused all of its ads after the invasion's commencement, pledging to bring forth new creative spots that didn't highlight military equipment in their visuals. It's not just developers and publishers, either; esports league ESL has banned organizations with any ties to the Russian government from competing in its tournaments or events.
This invasion is likely to have long-lasting consequences for the gaming industry, not to mention global politics in general. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous developer Owlcat Games, which is based in Moscow, recently announced that it would be unable to ship backer rewards for the game due to shipping bans imposed against Russia. If a developer, publisher, or distributor has any ties to Russia, it's likely you're going to see delays or issues arising with their games in the coming weeks. We'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.