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Activision Blizzard is the latest company to cut off Russian market

Call of Duty and Candy Crush firm is also doubling employee donations to relief efforts, has raised over $300,000 so far

Activision Blizzard has halted all sales of games, both physically and digitally, as well as in-game microtransactions in Russia.

The publisher announced the decision in an internal message to employees, which was attributed to president and COO Daniel Alegre and later posted on its website.

It is the latest publisher to cut off the Russian games market in protest over the country's invasion of Ukraine, following in the footsteps of CD Projekt, Bloober Team, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard's future parent Microsoft.

Activision Blizzard has perhaps the most widespread portfolio of the companies to ban sales in Russia so far, thanks to its ownership of the best-selling Call of Duty series, all of Blizzard's popular propeties such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch, plus King's dominating mobile games like Candy Crush Saga.

"We will continue to look at ways to support the Ukrainian people," Alegre wrote.

"I want to reassure you that the safety of our employees is our leadership team's top priority. We are doing everything possible to assist employees, and their families, who are being directly affected by this tragedy."

Alegre added that the company will not only match any employee donations to organisations providing relief in Ukraine, but double them. So far, the publisher and its staff have raised over $300,000.

Next week, Activision Blizzard will suggest other charities employees can donate to and raise the company's matching limit from $1,000 to $10,000.

Finally, Alegre praised Activision Blizzard staff in Poland, some of whom have been volunteering to directly assist Ukrainian refugees and other people affected by the invasion.

The wave of publishers halting sales in Russia is the latest step in wider industry efforts to provide support for Ukraine. You can read more about what the industry has been doing here.

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James Batchelor

Editor-in-Chief

James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006