A gamer plays on Sony’s Playstation 5 console at his home in Seoul.
Yelim Lee | AFP via Getty Images
Sony has stopped selling its PlayStation consoles and software in Russia, becoming the latest major brand to withdraw from the country over the Ukraine war.
Sony’s decision is one of the video game industry’s most significant moves yet. Experts say the company has the biggest presence in Russia out of any console maker.
“PlayStation has the largest installed base, so if a company on the console side has a particularly hard choice from a purely financial angle, it’s Sony,” said Lewis Ward, head of gaming at research firm IDC.
A representative for Sony’s video game unit said in a statement on Wednesday that the company has suspended all software and hardware shipments in the country, as well as the launch of new racing title Gran Turismo 7. The PlayStation Store will also no longer be available in Russia.
“Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine,” the company said.
“To support humanitarian aid, Sony Group Corporation announced a US$2 million donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the international NGO, Save the Children, to support the victims of this tragedy.”
A slew of major brands, from McDonald’s to Coca-Cola, have suspended operations in Russia amid outcry over the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last week, the video game world began taking steps to sever ties with Russia. CD Projekt, makers of the sci-fi game Cyberpunk 2077, and Electronic Arts, said they would block all sales of games and content in Russia and Belarus.
Meanwhile, Microsoft said it would halt all new sales of its products and services in Russia, including its Xbox games consoles, software and subscription services. Epic Games, the studio behind Fortnite, followed suit Saturday, saying it was “stopping commerce with Russia in our games.”
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, had previously called on Microsoft and Sony to block all Russian and Belarusian accounts and cancel any planned events in the two countries.