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Published: March 11, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Epic Games bans players based in Russia to compete in tournaments with a monetary prize
  • The company follows in the footsteps of many other companies, who are leaving Russia
  • Esports organizations and gaming companies are sending money for humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Yet more Russian players are being banned from competing in international tournaments following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Epic Bans Russian Players

With the war in Ukraine intensifying, many global companies have either severely limited, or outright left Russia. This also includes gaming companies, with names such as Blizzard stopping sales in Russia. Epic Games is yet another studio leaving the country, with the Fortnite team at the company announcing recently that players residing in Russia will no longer be eligible to participate in Fortnite competitive tournaments that feature cash prizes.

The new rule will take effect from March 11. Players from Russia will have to complete the prize verification process for any previous tournaments and claim funds from Epic’s payment provider before March 22, 2022. Despite being barred from participating in tournaments with cash prizes, players will still be able to earn in-game cosmetic prizes.

“If cash prizes remain unclaimed after March 22, 2022, they will be frozen until Epic’s payment service provider is able to resume prizing support for players residing in Russia,” said Epic in its announcement.

It seems that Epic Games’ decision did not come lightly and it might have been forced upon them indirectly. The fact that Russia is under heavy international sanctions means that payments may not be able to be paid. The reason being Russia has been excluded from the Swift payment system, which facilitates international money transfer.

The Gaming World’s Reaction to the War

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocking the world, many governments condemned the war and isolated their trade to the aggressor. In a show of support, many traditional and esports organizations have been banning Russian players from competing. Russian players are sometimes allowed to compete if they do not represent their country or organization.

Just in the past week, Nintendo, Bungie, Sony, YouTube, Twitch, EA, Apple, Activision Blizzard, AMD, Intel, and many others have either partially or fully stopped business with Russia.

In addition to many leaving the country, other companies have decided to donate to Ukraine’s humanitarian effort. For example, Riot Games has raised more than $3 million for humanitarian aid for the country. Many esports organizations have also pitched in to try and help the humanitarian disaster that is currently unfolding in Ukraine, like Team Liquid who is having a charity WoW livestream.

The vast destruction seen in Ukraine in just two weeks has sent ripples through the world, with even esports trying to do what they can to help the civilians caught in the crossfire.

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