Amazon Shuts Off Prime Video in Russia

Amazon announced an update to its retail, entertainment, and AWS businesses in Russia and Belarus. This was posted on its “About Amazon” site. From the announcement:

Given the ongoing situation in Russia and Ukraine, we’ve taken additional actions in the region. We’ve suspended shipment of retail products to customers based in Russia and Belarus, and we will no longer be accepting new Russian and Belarus-based AWS customers and Amazon third-party sellers. We are also suspending access to Prime Video for customers in Russia, and we will no longer be taking orders for New World, which is the only video game we sell directly in Russia.

In addition, Amazon provided some more details: “As a reminder, unlike some other U.S. technology providers, Amazon and AWS have no data centers, infrastructure, or offices in Russia and we have a long-standing policy of not doing business with the Russian government.”

New World launched in September of 2021. The game is only playable on a PC. The Wikipedia article for the game describes it as a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) developed by Amazon Games Orange County and published by Amazon Games. The game is set in the mid-seventeenth century, and players colonize a fictional land molded after the Americas.

Based on Amazon’s announcement, it appears that people who are in Russia or Belarus will soon lose access to Prime Video, and will be suspended from playing (or purchasing) New World. Amazon will also no longer accept new sign-ups for AWS from people who are based on Russia or Belarus.

Historically, it is not unheard of for various governments to choose to support, or to withhold support, from countries that are at war with each other. In today’s world, it appears that part of the way to isolate a country that appears to be the instigator of a war is to… take away access to video games (and Amazon Prime). It seems like a small thing, but might have an impact, considering that many gaming companies have blocked Russian access to games and consoles.