Two more major forces in the gaming industry have halted services in Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine. Pokemon Go developer Niantic and Humble, of Humble Bundle fame, have both announced they will be stopping sales and services in both Russia and Belarus owing to the invasion.
Why have Pokemon Go and Humble Russian services been halted?
On February 24th, Russian leader Vladimir Putin gave the order to invade Ukraine. As a result, many companies in the gaming industry, including Microsoft, GOG owner CD Projekt, and The Medium developer Bloober Team, have halted sales and services in Russia. Now, that list has gained two new names: Pokemon Go developer Niantic and Humble, the company responsible for Humble Bundle and Humble Choice. Both Niantic and Humble announced their decisions via Twitter within the last 24 hours.
On Niantic's part, the studio tweeted that its games can no longer be downloaded in either Russia or Belarus. Gameplay services will also halt in those two countries "shortly". Humble, meanwhile, says it is suspending not only sales of all Humble products, but also games published under the Humble Games label. The company is urging gamers to donate to various charities including the International Rescue Committee, Razom for Ukraine, and Direct Relief if they can.
Both Niantic and Humble have lots going on right now. Pokemon Go is still firing on all cylinders, having recently announced a collaboration with Pokemon TCG to bring a special set of cards to the trading card game. Humble, meanwhile, is in the process of assembling a new charity bundle, the proceeds for which will all go towards Ukraine relief charities. Humble says it'll reveal more about this bundle "in the coming week", so stay tuned for more info about that.
What's the backdrop to these decisions?
Over the past few weeks, the gaming industry has been pretty much unanimous in condemning Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Along with the companies listed above, various other studios have taken stands against Russia or have pledged aid in some form or another to Ukraine. These include Sony, which halted sales of racing sim Gran Turismo 7 in Russia last week, and The Pokemon Company, which has donated $200,000 to Ukrainian relief. In addition, studios in Ukraine have been sharing their stories or describing their experiences, including Sherlock Holmes Chapter One developer Frogwares, among others.
It looks like more and more gaming studios and entities are halting services in Russia. It's not just big names, either; just a couple of days ago, work-for-hire studio Room 8 Group (which has almost 1,200 employees) pledged the entirety of its 2022 net profits to support Ukraine. When we spoke to Frogwares about its experiences in Ukraine, the studio's CEO Wael Amr told us that the most important thing to do was to keep talking about the situation. It doesn't look like that's going to be an issue, given how many studios and companies are taking a stand. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.