Niantic disables game downloads in Russia and Belarus, gameplay suspension imminent

The developer of Pokémon Go is hoping for peace and a "rapid resolution to the violence and suffering in Ukraine."

Image via Niantic

The sanctions against Russia and Belarus in the gaming industry continue to rise.

Niantic is the latest company to sanction the countries. The developer of Pokémon Go has shut down downloads for its games in Russia and Belarus, while gameplay will also be suspended shortly.

“We stand with the global community in hoping for peace and a rapid resolution to the violence and suffering in Ukraine,” Niantic said in a statement on social media today. Besides Pokémon Go, Niantic is also responsible for titles like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Catan: World Explorers, and Endgame: Proving Ground.

Niantic isn’t the only mobile games developer to hand out sanctions in recent weeks. Earlier this week, Supercell, the studio behind Clash of Clans and Brawl Stars, halted its operations in Russia and Belarus as well.

The gaming community is uniting with Ukraine, which was invaded on Feb. 24 by neighboring Russia. Since then, multiple developers and esports tournament organizers have supported Ukraine in their own way. Sony suspended operation in Russia, while Riot Games has raised millions of dollars for humanitarian efforts in the country.

Several tournament organizers have banned Russian-based orgs from participating in their events, while others, like ESL, have allowed their players to take part in their competition under neutral banners.