The Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted: from his verified account calling on Xbox and PlayStation to leave the Russian market. The tweet includes a screenshot of an official looking longer statement.
Mykhalio Federov tweeted: “You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live the Russian market.”
Here is a piece of the statement, which was directed to all gaming companies and esports platforms:
…I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe, and finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression – and I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russia and Belarius.
We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression…
In another tweet, Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted: “@riotgames @EA @Ubisoft Gameloft @wargaming_net Right now russian troops are bombing Ukranian cities and killing Ukrainians. Please help us stop this. Close your offices in russia! There’s no place for aggressor on the global technological map!”
I find this interesting for several reasons. First of all, it isn’t common for government officials to call on gaming companies to close their offices in Russia via a couple of tweets. That said, I suppose that a person with the title “Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation in Ukraine” would be quite adept at using Twitter in this way.
Secondly, there is something to be said about the wrath of angry gamers! Unfortunately, some gamers, who decide they do not like something that was added to – or removed from – a video game, take to Twitter to complain about it to the game developers. Sometimes, they tweet rage directly at the company that makes that particular game.
One vivid example of this happened in-person at BlizzCon in 2018, after a group of Diablo players learned that Diablo Immortal would only be on phones or tablets, not on PC. They booed the people on the stage who announced it, mostly because that group of gamers only played on PC and were expecting the announcement of a highly anticipated Diablo game on PC.
If all of the gaming companies chose to follow through on Mykhalio Federov’s request, by closing their offices in Russia, preventing Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers from esports, and cancel their conferences, – there will definitely be some immediate pushback.