Microsoft has announced it will suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russia, condemning the country’s “unjustified, unprovoked and unlawful” invasion of Ukraine.
Announcing the suspension in a blog post, Microsoft President and Vice chair Brad Smith said Microsoft was working with the governments of the US, UK and EU member states to halt many of its business practices in Russia in support of governmental sanctions.
“We believe we are most effective in aiding Ukraine when we take concrete steps in coordination with the decisions being made by these governments and we will take additional steps as this situation continues to evolve,” Microsoft’s president and vice chair Bad Smith said in the post.
Microsoft’s commitment to stopping the sale of all its “products and services” in Russia will, presumably, extend to this gaming hardware and software. That would mean future sales of the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox Game Pass will be stopped.
We could also expect that Microsoft will stop selling its games through the Xbox’s digital storefront, although it’s unclear whether it will cease selling only its first-party games or all games that are currently listed on the Microsoft store.
We have contacted Microsoft for comment but its spokespeople did not immediately respond.
Microsoft’s decision to stop sales in Russia follows the actions of other gaming firms that have responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. EA has announced its plans to remove Russian teams from FIFA 22 and NHL 22 to stand “in solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.
The Vice President of Amazon Games also confirmed to TechRadar Gaming that the publisher has stopped the Russian localization of its popular MMO New World in response to the invasion.
Original story continues below.
March 02, 2022
Ukraine has called upon PlayStation, Xbox, and ‘all game development companies and esports platforms’ to temporarily block support for Russian markets amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In an open letter published on Twitter , tagging the official PlayStation and Xbox Twitter accounts, Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov called for game companies to “do everything to protect Ukraine, Europe and finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression”.
Fedorov has asked that gaming companies temporarily block Russian and Belarussian player accounts, ban Russian and Belarussian players from competing in international esports events and cancel any planned esports events that take place in Russia or Belarus.
@Xbox @PlayStationYou are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live the Russian market! pic.twitter.com/tnQr13BsSvMarch 2, 2022
“The Russian Federation has carried out a deceptive and outrageous military attack on my country!,” the letter reads. “Just imagine, in 2022, cruise missiles attack residential neighborhoods, kindergartens, and hospitals in the heart of Europe.
“The armed forces and citizens are defending Ukraine till the end! The whole world is repelling the aggressor through the imposition of sanctions – the enemy must suffer significant losses. But we need your support – in 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers, and missiles.
“I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything to protect Ukraine, Europe, and finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression – and I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belarusian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belarusian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russia and Belarus.
“We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression.”
Neither Microsoft nor Sony has responded to the open letter, but we’ve already seen other industries temporarily pulling Russian support, with Intel and AMD reportedly pulling chip sales and Apple halting product sales in the country.
TechRadar Gaming has contacted both Microsoft and Sony for comment.