The gaming industry's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine so far

The gaming industry’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine so far

The gaming industry has responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in many interesting ways. We investigate the most prominent examples.

The gaming industry in Eastern Europe has seen a period of immense growth over the last decade. Now, in response to Russia’s dreadful invasion of Ukraine, we are seeing developers and publishers from around the world unite in protest.

Developers such as CD Projekt Red (The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077) and GSC Game World (Stalker 2) have obvious skin in the game considering their geographic location; Poland and Ukraine. However, solidarity is being shown in places further afield.

gaming ukraine russia
Image: The Witcher 3: CD Projekt Red

And while the cynic in me questions how the gaming industry can contribute in a meaningful way to a geopolitical clusterfuck of this magnitude, the consequences of doing nothing have already been established. No matter what kind of power you wield, it is vital to lend it to worthy causes.

To be clear: it includes publicly condemning and sanctioning Russia for its criminal invasion of Ukraine. To amplify this sentiment, we will use our voice and cover how different parts of the gaming industry have responded so far.

russian invasion ukraine
Credit: AP/Francisco Seco

GSC Games World pauses Stalker 2 development, prepares for the fight ahead

GSC Games World is the game developer responsible for the acclaimed Stalker series and, after a lengthy hiatus, were deep into the development of Stalker 2. Located in Kyiv, Ukraine, the developer has announced they have paused development on their game as they attend to more pressing matters.

It goes without saying that all our anger regarding this delay is entirely directed at Russia, or more specifically, Putin and his pack of corrupt fuck knuckles. The announcement highlights that Ukraine needs aid, but they will defend their homeland no matter what.

CD Projekt Red donates funds and halts sales in Russia and Belarus

CD Projekt Red became a significant player in the gaming industry when the Witcher 3 solidified their reputation as one of the best RPG developers in the world. Situated in neighbouring Poland, the developer condemned Russia’s aggression and supported Ukraine.

Initially, CD Projekt Red donated 1 million PNL (over $300 000 AUD) to the Polish aid organisation PAH, which supports Ukrainians and other victims of the conflict.

Since that announcement, CD Projekt Red has also halted sales of their games and merchandise in Russia and Belarus (who are currently supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine).

EA removes Russian teams from FIFA 22 and NHL 22

Giant of the gaming industry, EA have entered into the fray by removing Russian teams from their popular sports video game series. It’s perhaps a little tokenistic, but a start nonetheless.

Bungie hosts fundraiser and donates proceeds

Destiny 2 developer Bungie gave all the proceeds from the first 48 hours of their Game2Give event to aid organisations assisting Ukraine. This amount eventually reached $120 000 USD.

Gaming industry’s Crytek offers support

Crytek has been responsible for some of the most technologically impressive games of all time. And it appears they are looking to continue that trend with the recently announced Crysis 4.

Crytek has had a studio located in Kyiv, Ukraine, for the last 15 years and voiced its concern and support to those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukraine Humble Bundle

A number of the video game industry bundle platforms have put together special packs to raise money for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Currently, none of them has done a better job than Humble Bundle.

The Ukraine Humble Bundle has raised over $10 million USD for Razom for UkraineInternational Rescue Committee (IRC)International Medical Corps, and Direct Relief. The pack has 123 games in it (Slay the Spire, Wandersong) and is available for donations over $10.The deal ends on March 25.

World of Tanks closes doors

The developers behind the hugely successful MMO World of Tanks, Wargaming, have decided to close down both offices in Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine.

From a recent LinkedIn post, the company said they’re “conducting a strategic review of business operations worldwide.” Though shutting the doors won’t be imminent, the effects will be.

The statement continues: “The company will not profit from this process either today or going forward,” and “Much to the contrary, we expect to suffer substantial losses as a direct result of this decision.