In an unprecedented decision, the World of Tanks developer Wargaming is packing up and leaving Belarus and Russia. Effective March 31st, the company transferred all management of their live service games in Belarus and Russia to the Lesta Studio.
“Over the past weeks, Wargaming has been conducting a strategic review of business operations worldwide,” reads a statement on their official site. “The company has decided it will not own or operate any businesses in Russia and Belarus and will leave both countries.”
Wargaming is also in the process of closing down operations in Minsk, Belarus and are looking to provide as much “severance and support” as possible to the employees affected by these changes. With that decision, Wargaming expects to also suffer “substantial losses” as a direct result of this decision.
“We will be completing the operational transition with all due speed while remaining in full compliance with all laws and ensuring the ongoing safety and support of our employees. During the transition period the live products will remain available in Russia and Belarus and will be operated by the new owner.”
“Despite the magnitude of this decision, we as a company are confident in the future of our business and are committed to delivering quality games to our players.”
Wargaming’s headquarters has been based in Nicosia, Cyprus since 2011 and the company has offices across the world to help support this change. One of the offices is in Kyiv, Ukraine and is employed with more than 550 people. In addition to World of Tanks, Wargaming handles global development of World of Warships and World of Warplanes.
Previously, a creative director at Wargaming split ways with the company due to his support for the war. Sergey Burkatovskiy publicly endorsed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on social media. This was confirmed by Wargaming to PC Gamer in an email and that Burkatovskiy “categorically does not reflect the position of the company” and “has been let go and is no longer at the company.”
For its part, Wargaming has donated $1 million to the Ukrainian Red Cross and said in a statement that “all available company resources are helping and supporting our 550+ colleagues [in Ukraine]: providing them with alternate housing, early salary payments, additional funds to aid travel and relocation. We are helping our employees’ families to travel to neighbouring countries and organizing accommodation for them.”