Pokemon GO is Shutting Down in Russia and Belarus

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Pokemon GO developer Niantic announces that it will be shutting down the popular mobile game in Russia and Belarus.

Pokemon GO was a massive hit when it first launched in 2016, becoming a worldwide phenomenon that is still played to this day. In fact, Pokemon GO continues to rake in absurd revenue for developer Niantic and The Pokemon Company, remaining one of the most popular mobile apps in existence. There are Pokemon GO fans in countries all over the world, but those in Russia and Belarus are now unable to play the game.

Niantic has announced that, in an effort to show its support of Ukraine and contribute to the growing sanctions against Russia, its games are no longer available for download in Russia or Belarus. Niantic has also said that it will be suspending gameplay operations in Russia and Belarus for Pokemon GO and its other games indefinitely. Besides Pokemon GO, Niantic is also known for Ingress and Pikmin Bloom. It also had an augmented reality Harry Potter game called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, but it was shut down at the end of January 2022.

This means that Pokemon GO players in Russia and Belarus will be missing out on the game’s current and upcoming events, like the ongoing Season of Alola that is adding Generation 7 Pokemon to the mix as well as the limited-time Festival of Colors that starts next week.

Niantic joins a growing list of video game companies who have suspended sales and operations in Russia. The idea behind these moves is that by restricting the entertainment and other products Russian people can access, it will potentially upset the masses and put pressure on the government to cease its invasion of Ukraine.

These efforts combined with the larger-scale economic sanctions against Russia has had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. As a result of the sanctions, Russia’s ruble is worth less than Roblox virtual currency. It remains to be seen if the intense economic sanctions against Russia will have the desired effect of it stopping its invasion of Ukraine, but it seems the pressure is mounting every day.

In an attempt to counteract video game companies suspending sales in Russia, the Russian government has effectively legalized piracy. That solution may work for many video games, but would be much trickier to properly pull off in Pokemon GO. It’s likely that Niantic will be able to figure out if Russian Pokemon GO players are spoofing and deal out bans accordingly, as it is usually pretty on top of those things.

Pokemon GO is out now for iOS and Android mobile devices.

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