Wargaming’s extensive business holdings in Russia and Belarus in the form of Lesta Studio (AKA: Wargaming Saint Petersburg) has caused no small amount of contention in recent times thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Thus, quite a few people have been wondering how Wargaming would deal with this problem. Well, as it turns out, the gaming company has decided to remove this problem right at the source.
No More Wargaming for You, Russia, and Belarus
Wargaming has just announced on their World of Warships and World of Tanks portals (but curiously, not on their World of Warplanes portal) that they will no longer conduct any business in Russia and Ukraine, and will leave both nations. The company will close its studio in Minsk, Belarus; and will transfer all of its live games services in Russia and Ukraine to Lesta Studio. This isn’t just a transfer of assets though. Lesta Studio is now apparently no longer affiliated with Wargaming. The company is actively getting rid of its assets in Russia and Belarus at an apparently massive loss.
Wargaming will apparently continue to operate all of their games in all other countries like normal. Nothing will change. Or to clarify: nothing should change if everything goes right.
The exact statement from Wargaming on the World of Warships portal is as follows:
“Over the past weeks, Wargaming has been conducting a strategic review of business operations worldwide. The company has decided it will not own or operate any businesses in Russia and Belarus and will leave both countries.
Effective March 31 2022, the company started the process of closing its studio in Minsk, Belarus and transferred its live games business in Russia and Belarus to local management of Lesta Studio that is no longer affiliated with Wargaming. The company will not profit from this process either today or going forward. Much to the contrary, we expect to suffer substantial losses as a direct result of this decision.
Going forward, in all other countries Wargaming will continue to operate World of Warships as before. The game servers will be operating as usual, and players’ accounts, as well as their in-game property accumulated through purchase or any other means, will remain unchanged.”
World of Warships and World of Tanks: What Does It Mean for the Games?
Theoretically, nothing should happen for World of Warships and World of Tanks if this pulling out of Russia and Belarus by Wargaming goes right. Everyone who plays either or both games should just experience more or less the same thing as usual. At least, for a short while.
This is just speculation, but Russia has been a major customer of Wargaming’s titles like World of Tanks and World of Warships for years now. It effectively meant that Wargaming had to try to keep their Russian customers at least somewhat happy. Unfortunately, they seemed to think questionable balance decisions (for example the Russian aircraft carriers and the Russian medium tanks that are heavy tanks in all but name) would work, contributing to the whole Russian bias semi-myth circulating around. Now though, it’s possible that Wargaming might revisit some of those old balance decisions. Maybe. At least, we can hope. Take this speculation with a grain of salt until we see what Wargaming does next.