How The Gaming World Has Responded To Russia
With the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, most big gaming companies have decided to make it really hard to be a gamer in Russia. Right now, it would be easier to name gaming giants that haven't suspended video game sales in Russia, as Microsoft, Ubisoft, Epic Games, CD Projekt Red, Activision Blizzard, and even Netflix have suspended video game dealings with the invading country. And while you know you're definitely the bad guys when even Activision Blizzard renounces you, it's not clear whether this is the best way to move forward.
Who's getting hit with this, exactly? Does Putin strike you as the gamer type? Would a real gamer have started a war just a day before the release of Elden Ring? It seems like the people most affected by both the sales blockade as well as the blockade to the consumption of Russian arts are the people who'd most likely be against this invasion from the get-go. I get the urge, the need, even, to do something – even if just so you can appease shareholders. With this, however, the best we can do is hope that we're not just giving the Russian government the leeway to earn free favor among the people of the arts, the kind of people they'd only managed to antagonize up until now.
And it's not just a huge number of Russian youngsters who're protesting the war, there are Russian developers as well. Unlike the dumbass ex-creative director of World Of Tanks, who apparently shrugged at the possibility that hundreds of his Ukrainian coworkers might die, the mad geniuses behind some of the best Russian games of all time like Pathologic 2 and The Void are vehemently opposing the war.
Despite the naive belief that one can “stay out of politics,” this is still a commendably ballsy move as such a statement will certainly draw a lot of attention from the kind of people who'll go after one's life or at least livelihood. Take it from CD Projekt Red, a huge company that's helplessly witnessing a Russian bot-powered Steam review-bombing campaign of Cyberpunk 2077 even now that the game doesn't suck
anymore as much.
If you too want to help in an easy and constructive way, one really cool thing you could do is acquire itch.io's bundle for Ukraine, a $10 bundle that will give you one thousand games (yes, one thousand), and whose proceeds will go straight to help health personnel on the field and Ukrainian children.
Top Image: Ice-Pick Lodge