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The Russian Localization of the New World has been halted by Amazon Games

Amazon Games halts Russian localization of New World

Image Source: IGN

In an interview with TechRadar Gaming, Christoph Hartmann, Vice President of Amazon Games, said that the firm has halted the Russian translation of its open-world MMO New World, joining a growing number of other companies in the industry in response to Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory.

“We were looking at localizing New World for Russia, but we decided against it,” Hartmann told us in an interview. An Amazon Games official subsequently verified that this was in reaction to the invasion. Additionally, Amazon corporate has announced a gift matching program for employees who make charitable contributions to Ukrainian humanitarian groups. Lost Ark, a game created by Smilegate and distributed by Amazon Games, was also released later in the English language. Lost Ark has been played in Russia since 2019, albeit the game is published by Mail.Ru rather than Amazon Games in that country. A representative from Smilegate has responded to our request for comment on its intentions to keep its MMO’s Russian edition running.

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Vice First Minister of Ukraine called on the games industry, in particular Sony and Microsoft, 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 temporarily cancel all international events taking place on the territory of Russia and Belarus.” However, although Microsoft and Sony have not responded to the open letter or our call for comments, other firms have.

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“Processes” to remove Russian teams from FIFA 22 and NHL 22 have been “started,” according to EA. CD Projekt RED, the creator of The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077, and the operator of the GOG digital shop said that it has banned “all digital sales of [its] games to Russia and Belarus” in response to the Russian military invasion. The ESL Pro League announced that it would not allow “organizations with apparent links to the Russian government, including persons or organizations subject to claimed or proven EU sanctions relating to the conflict to be represented” in the future competition. So far, this restriction has been imposed on two teams: Virtus. Pro and Gambit.

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It is unlikely that these measures by the gaming industry would halt the invasion of Ukraine, but it does demonstrate just how widespread the consequences of this war are. Russia is a significant market for the video game industry, notably for massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). Amazon’s decision to cease the Russian translation of New World is equivalent to its decision not to release its most important game in a crucial market.

The answer from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo is still awaited. Still, if any platform owners were to halt sales of their games and systems in Russia, it would be a powerful statement against the country’s invasion.


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