Activision-Blizzard has pulled new sales of their games in Russia, including Overwatch, Call of Duty: Vanguard, and World of Warcraft. In-game microtransactions will also be blocked, with the company pledging to match employee donations to aid organizations.
The developers of Overwatch, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft are the latest gaming company to pull their titles out of Russia following the recent conflict in Ukraine.
Activision-Blizzard, who are soon to merge with Microsoft in a near $70 billion deal, are scaling back their operations in the region that’ll affect new and current players alike.
COO Daniel Alegre told employees on March 4 the company would be pulling sales of new games, as well as in-game transactions, in Russia.
We are committed to helping those impacted by the terrifying violence taking place in Ukraine.
Today, we are announcing the suspension of new sales of and in our games in Russia while this conflict continues, as well as other efforts to assist Ukraine. https://t.co/wG9tQMNzjK
— Activision Blizzard (@ATVI_AB) March 5, 2022
“Activision-Blizzard will be suspending new sales of and in our games in Russia while this conflict continues,” Alegre stated.
“I want to reassure you that the safety of our employees is our leadership team’s top priority. We are doing everything possible to assist employees, and their families, who are being directly affected by this tragedy.”
This affects Russian players who want to buy new copies of games like Overwatch and Call of Duty: Vanguard, as well as in-game transactions and subscriptions for World of Warcraft. However, it’s unclear if Russian players have been blocked from playing those titles.
The company also confirmed they would be matching employee donations to relief organizations, announcing they’ve already raised $300,000 through the practice.
Activision-Blizzard is following in the footsteps of other developers like Riot Games and EA. The former is raising money through in-game fundraisers as well as pledging $1 million of their own, while EA has pulled all titles, including Apex Legends and FIFA 22, from the region.
The suspension of sales will remain in place indefinitely.