Wargaming, the company behind popular war games like World of Tanks and World of Warships, has decided to divest its business in Russia and Belarus. The company officially announced this today.
It stands to reason that this step is a reaction to the terrible events in the Ukraine war, even if Wargaming does not mention it in the public statement. Although Wargaming is based in Cyprus, the company, which was founded in 1998, has its roots in Belarus.
Russia business is sold off
As the company has now announced, the live games business, which includes the aforementioned MMO offshoots, was transferred to the Lesta Studio, which has its headquarters in Saint Petersburg, in the regions of Russia and Belarus at the end of March. The studio, also known as "Wargaming Saint Petersburg", is no longer part of Wargaming. As a result of the separation, the former parent company expects “considerable sales losses” if the income from these regions is lost.
Over the past few weeks, Wargaming has conducted a strategic review of its global operations. In doing so, the company decided to no longer own or operate stores in Russia and Belarus.
Effective March 31, Wargaming has transferred its live games business in Russia and Belarus to the local management of Lesta Studio, which is no longer affiliated with Wargaming. Wargaming will not benefit from this process now or in the future. On the contrary – Wargaming expects to suffer significant revenue losses as a direct result of this decision.
The transition should be completed as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the games should continue to be available in the said countries, just operated by Lesta Studio.
Wargaming will complete the operational transition with due urgency while complying with all laws and continuing to ensure the safety and support of employees. During the transition period, the live products in Russia and Belarus will continue to be available and operated by the new owner.
Home studio in Minsk is dissolved
Another big step is the dissolution of the studio in Minsk, Belarus, the actual home of Wargaming, which has already begun. However, there is obviously still a lot to be clarified here, for example what will happen to the departments concerned. On its website, the company states that it employs more than 2,200 people at this location alone. At the end of the statement, Wargaming said it wanted to “provide maximum support” to the employees affected by the change.
Wargaming has also started dismantling its Minsk studio. This closure will be in strict compliance with the law. The heads of each product and service will be meeting with their teams shortly to discuss the impact of this decision on each department.
After the great success with the tank MMO World of Tanks, Wargaming has long since positioned itself internationally and operates numerous other studios around the world with a total of more than 5,500 employees.
Wargaming is also in Ukraine
With the Persha Studio aka Wargaming Kyiv, the company also has a headquarters in Ukraine with more than 550 employees. At the beginning of March, Wargaming made a statement on the local situation in the WoT forum. Among other things, funds to support employees during the war were announced. Wargaming also said it had donated $1 million to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
Director fired after pro-Russian statement
Wargaming fired its creative director Sergey Burkatovskiy shortly after Russia's attacks on Ukraine began, after he publicly expressed his support for Russia's actions. In a statement, Wargaming announced the dismissal of Burkatovskiy and stated that the company did not share the opinion Burkatovskiy expressed on social media.