Nintendo’s Official Statement
Nintendo of Europe has officially announced the closure of its eShop in Russia, marking an end to a service that has been in “maintenance mode” since March 2022. The company sent an email to publishers, stating that the eShop would be operating on a “limited service” as of May 31, 2023, as part of their efforts to “wind down” operations in the country12.
The statement explained that due to the economic outlook, it was decided to wind down operations of Nintendo’s Russian subsidiary. As part of their commitment to their customers in the Russian market, the Russian version of the Nintendo eShop will offer limited service for the foreseeable future. The new policy specifies that it will not be possible to make new purchases or redeem download codes on the Switch eShop, with the online store only being available for users with a Russian account to redownload content they have previously purchased12.
Impact on Russian Customers
This move signifies that Nintendo is officially halting all sales in Russia. As of May 31st, 2023, the company will halt all new eShop sales in the country, meaning that customers won’t be able to make any new purchases from the store or redeem digital codes. Furthermore, all credit card information and PayPal details will be deleted for security reasons, and users won’t be able to create new Nintendo Accounts as long as Russia is set as their country3.
The good news for existing users is that those with a Russian eShop account will still be able to download previously-purchased games and downloadable content (DLC) “for the foreseeable future,” although it is unclear how long Nintendo plans on keeping the eShop available for these users32.
The Broader Context
Nintendo’s decision to halt operations comes after a wave of similar actions taken by other high-profile gaming companies, including Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Activision Blizzard, which all ceased operating in Russia in 2022 following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Last year, Nintendo suspended shipments of all hardware and software to Russia “for the foreseeable future” and put the eShop under maintenance after the suspension of purchases in Russian rubles by payment providers. With Nintendo joining the mix, no major console makers currently allow their Russian users to purchase new games in the country32.
This development adds to the uncertainty that came with last year’s payment ban in Russia and continues to underscore the significant impact geopolitical events can have on the gaming industry1.