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Crunchyroll, Wakanim Suspend Services in Russia

posted on by Alex Mateo
Nintendo suspends sales/shipments to Russia; Niantic removes games; Sony Music pulls out

Sony-owned anime streaming services Crunchyroll and Wakanim announced that they are suspending services in Russia due to the current situation surrounding the country's invasion of Ukraine. Neither website works in Russia, and shows scheduled for release have already been canceled in the country. Neither company can process payments from cards issued in Russia. The mobile app still works for paying subscribers. Before this announcement, Wakanim and Crunchyroll were the last major services that were still streaming anime in Russia.

Sony Music Entertainment (SME), a subsidiary of Sony Group, announced that it is suspending business in Russia due to the invasion. Sony has also suspended sales of its PlayStation software and hardware in Russia. including shipping electronics products to the country, due to the invasion. Sony Group Corporation announced that it is donating US$2 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the international NGO, Save the Children.

Meanwhile, Nintendo confirmed in a statement published on Thursday on video game news website Eurogamer that it has suspended sales and product shipments to Russia due to "volatility surrounding the logistics of shipping and distributing physical goods."

Nintendo announced earlier this month that it has suspended its online eShop retail service in Russia. The company explained that it put the eShop in Russia temporarily in "maintenance mode" since the payment service it uses has suspended the processing of rubles. Nintendo did not reveal a date for the service's return. The company delayed its Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp Nintendo Switch game due to "recent world events."

Niantic announced on Thursday that its games, which include Pokémon GO and Pikmin Bloom, are no longer available for download in Russia and Belarus, and that it is suspending gameplay there in order to "stand with the global community in hoping for peace and a rapid resolution to the violence and suffering in Ukraine." The company had announced earlier this month that it raised $75,000 internally by matching employee donations and donated $200,000 directly to humanitarian organizations focused on supporting Ukraine.

The Tokyo International Film Festival announced on Friday that it "will explore what measures should be taken at the 35th edition in October-November this year." The staff called for a "peaceful resolution for this crisis."

Movie studios Disney, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Paramount Pictures have also halted film releases in Russia in light of the invasion. Apple and Microsoft have also ceased sales and services in Russia.

Netflix suspended its streaming service in Russia. It had earlier decided not to carry 20 Russian channels, including the state-run Channel One, despite a law that would have required the service to carry them. It had also decided to suspend future projects and acquisitions from Russia.

Amazon announced on Tuesday that it is halting its Amazon Prime streaming service in Russia due to the country's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The company also suspended shipment of retail products to customers based in Russia and Belarus, and it will no longer accept new Russia and Belarus-based Amazon Web Services customers and third-party sellers. Amazon donated US$5 million to support those impacted by the invasion.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 after weeks of tense military buildup along their mutual borders and Belarus. Russia claimed to be supporting the independence of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The war has recently taken a turn for the worse, as Russia has intensified shelling of cities, and Ukrainian civilians struggle to either flee the country or prepare for conflict amid rising casualities. Countries around the world have decried the invasion and expressed support for Ukraine. Economic sanctions have fallen on Russia and Belarus in light of the invasion, while artists and creative studios have halted releases of some works in Russia.

Sources: Crunchyroll, Wakanim, Eurogamer (Tom Phillips) via Siliconera, Nikkei via Otakomu, Niantic's Twitter account, Polygon (Nicole Carpenter), Press release

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