July 15, 2024

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Sony PlayStation and Nintendo suspend sales in Russia over Ukraine war

The PlayStation 5 logo pictured at a store in Krakow, Poland.

Nurphoto | Getty Images

Sony’s PlayStation division and Nintendo have stopped product sales in Russia, becoming the latest major brands to withdraw from the country over the Ukraine war.

A representative for Sony’s video game unit said Wednesday that the company has suspended all console and software shipments in the country, including the launch of new racing title Gran Turismo 7. The PlayStation Store will also no longer be available in Russia.

“Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine,” the company said.

Sony Group said it has earmarked $2 million for donations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children “to support the victims of this tragedy.”

Separately Wednesday, Nintendo said it was suspending all shipments to Russia “for the foreseeable future,” citing “considerable volatility surrounding the logistics of shipping and distributing physical goods.”

The Switch console maker has also decided to postpone the release of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, a military-themed strategy game, “in light of recent world events.”

Sony and Nintendo are following in the footsteps of iconic brands McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Starbucks, which have suspended operations in Russia amid outcry over the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, video game companies began taking steps to sever ties with Russia. CD Projekt, makers of the sci-fi game Cyberpunk 2077, and Electronic Arts, said they would block all sales of games and content in Russia and Belarus.

Microsoft said on Friday it would halt all new sales of its products and services in Russia, including its Xbox games consoles, software and subscription services. Epic Games, the studio behind Fortnite, followed suit the next day, saying it was “stopping commerce with Russia in our games.”

Sony’s decision is one of the industry’s most significant moves yet. The company has the biggest presence in Russia of any console maker, according to industry insiders.

“PlayStation has the largest installed base, so if a company on the console side has a particularly hard choice from a purely financial angle, it’s Sony,” Lewis Ward, head of gaming at research firm IDC, recently told CNBC.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s digital minister, had previously called on Microsoft and Sony to block all Russian and Belarusian accounts and cancel any planned events in the two countries.