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Game companies raise donations for Ukraine, cut Russian ties

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Games have a way of conveying what war is like, and not only from the point of view of glory. 11 Bit Studios, the Polish maker of This War of Mine, created a simulation title This War of Mine to show what it’s like for civilians to survive during war. And now the company is donating all profits from This War of Mine and its content on all platforms to support the Ukrainian Red Cross in light of the horrifying war in Ukraine.

Storefront GOG also said it would donate all profits for the next week from This War of Mine to support Ukraine. On Facebook, Ukrainian developers urged people to donate to the Ukrainian National Bank to support the Ukrainian army. IGN and Axios have stories describing a lot of the reaction and donation campaigns. We also have added our own material about the reactions to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Our own story noted that there are many thousands of game developers in Ukraine working on titles at work-for-hire studios or original games as well. Achievers Hub and UNIT.City Innovation Park compiled a report in 2018 that mentioned 30 recently formed game studios, while Alexey Menshikov of Beatshapers said that he was part of the first Ukraine game studio, Action Forms, in the 1990s.

GSC Game World, which makes the Stalker series set in a radioactive Chernobyl, asked its players for donations to support Ukraine’s army. The company was expecting to release Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl, in the near future.

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Ukraine’s focus in gaming.

And Upland, which makes a virtual real estate game based on real-world locations, said that it is helping its Ukraine-based team find places to live outside the country. Some left last week to help set up an office in Poland, but others are stuck in the cities of Kyiv, Mikolev, and Lviv.

Meanwhile, Ukraine-born startup DMarket said it cut all relationships with Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine. It is cutting partners and raising money from the gaming community through skin sales to fight the Russian invasion. Russian and Belarus users can withdraw their funds up until March 12. After that, the funds will be donated to the Ukrainian army. DMarket no longer works with Russian payment systems and its currency. Players can donate skins as well through DMarket.

DMarket said more than 100 DMarket team members and their families were relocated to Western Europe. But some stayed in Ukraine to serve. Game developers are part of the humanitarian crisis forming at Ukraine’s borders as families attempt to flee to Poland and elsewhere.

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WePlay Holding also said it has terminated all partnership agreements with companies from Russia. Starting from now WePlay advertise any brands of Russian origin in its esports broadcasts. 

Kyiv-based Frogwares, maker of the Sherlock Holmes video games, called on everyone to help force Putin’s army to withdraw. Tallboys, the maker of Pandemic Express, also spoke out against the war on Twitter. Ubisoft said it is providing aid to its 500-plus team members in Ukraine.

Riot Games said it was suspending a Valorant Champions Tour tournament involving teams in Ukraine and Russia. Sengi Games, maker of The Serpent Rogue, also said it would not be able to answer queries because of the war. Alexey Menshikov, CEO of the 20-person Beatshapers studio in Kyiv, said his team was in the midst of being evacuated.

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The timeline of Ukraine’s game ecosystem.

Save the Children is providing humanitarian aid for children in Ukraine. The United Nations is shipping emergency supplies and water to Ukraine, while Project Hope is sending medical supplies. CD Projekt Red, based in Poland, voiced its own support for its neighboring country.

Bungie is giving all of the proceeds of the first 48 hours of its Game2Give donation drive to humanitarian aid efforts in response to the war.

4A Games, maker of the Metro series that moved from Ukraine to Malta, said, “We’re neither politicians nor superheroes – we’re game developers. Our large family includes people from all over the world, and all of us want just one thing – for the horrors of war not to ever break out of imaginary worlds.”

Polish developer Beetlewing said will also donate the proceeds of its game Slipways to the Help Ukraine Fund of the Polish Red Cross, until the third of March. 

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Learn More

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