Azur Games has sold its shares in Russian and Belarusian mobile game studios in order to focus its attention on other markets.
The sale comes as a result of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, which saw the country face international condemnation, sanctions and trade embargoes. Belarus, one of Russia’s closest political allies, is now the country’s only declared ally in Europe.
Azur Games have sold shares in each studio affected back to their respective management teams, including Russian companies Ural Games, Sibir Games, Sarafan and Last Level, and Belarusian studios Oasis Games and AGB. However, studios from other countries, as well as those from within Russia and Belarus who took part in Azur Games’ relocation program have maintained their partnerships with Azur Games.
This relocation program included studios of all levels, including independent companies and developers working on all platforms.
“As an international publisher, we try to build an effective way to interact with partners, and help developers relocate to different countries. Several teams have already taken advantage of the program, and our relationships with them continue to strive,” said Azur Games co-founder Dmitry Yaminsky.
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Azur Games announced its relocation program in May 2022, encouraging companies in Russia to move operations elsewhere. This program came as companies in the games space with operations in Russia relocated elsewhere in large numbers in response to the war, whether in protest of the invasion, in solidarity with Ukraine or to avoid economic sanctions. Several companies, such as Microsoft and Rovio, went as far as to cease sales of their products in Russia entirely.
It's unclear at this point whether further companies will take part in the relocation program, or what reasoning the companies who have repurchased their shares from Azur Games have for declining to take part. It should be noted that, despite international condemnation, supporters of the invasion exist worldwide, so it's possible that this rejection of the offer to relocate could be due to loyalty to the Belarusian and Russian governments.
Earlier this month, Azur Games acquired the Mushroom Wars development studio from Zillion Whales.