Epic Games has dismissed suggestions of a Fortnite Russia ban, arguing that blocking access to its games would sever channels of communication, which contradicts the end goal of reaching out to the general public in Russia. Over on Twitter, the publisher said that it’s halting commerce in the country, which means microtransactions/in-game sales are suspended until further notice. However, it’s unclear if this suspension also applies to new (Epic-published) game sales and Epic Games Store’s operations in Russia or not.
Epic’s statement against Fortnite Russia ban
Epic is stopping commerce with Russia in our games in response to its invasion of Ukraine. We’re not blocking access for the same reason other communication tools remain online: the free world should keep all lines of dialogue open.
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) March 5, 2022
Fortnite is one of the most popular games in Russia. According to Statistica, it’s one of the most-streamed games on Twitch in the Russian language. Kiryache (Kirill Grichin) has been identified as the leading Fortnite esports player from the country, with prize earnings of at least $257,000 as of January 2022. The commerce suspension will certainly impact Fortnite players.
Elsewhere, Activision Blizzard announced that it too has suspended “new sales of and in our games in Russia while this conflict continues.” Games like Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty enjoy massive popularity in the country. The publisher also employs staff members in Ukraine, and expressed concerns for their safety. “We are doing everything possible to assist employees, and their families, who are being directly affected by this tragedy,” Activision added. The company has already raised over over $300,000 to help Ukrainians.
In other news, Gran Turismo 7’s microtransactions and dynamic car prices are being criticized by players, and it looks like Bungie’s new competitive PvP IP will feature third-person character-focused action.