Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Valve says sanctions are blocking payments to Steam game devs in Ukraine, Russia

Game developers in Ukraine and Russia are currently blocked from accessing their income from digital marketplace Steam, and storefront owner Valve says it’s working on a solution. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spurred economic sanctions and unrest in the wake of the war, and Valve says the bank it uses for business in the region have instituted new regulations.

Affected game developers took to Twitter to raise awareness of the situation, which has yet to be resolved. Stas Shostak, a Ukrainian developer, shared an email he received from Valve explaining the situation. The message read, in part:

This past week, our bank notified us that they will begin requiring that we provide intermediary bank information for all wire payments to accounts in Russia and Ukraine. In addition, they will no longer be allowing payments to Belarus.

We are working to understand all the new requirements, create a path to collect this information from you and send it to the bank. This will take us some time to complete, but will not be available for the payments to the affected accounts due at the end of March.

Developers dealing with this issue can either wait for Valve to complete this process, or change their payment instructions to a bank that sits outside of Ukraine, Russia, or Belarus. Small or solo developers are the most affected by these changes, and some have taken to Twitter to speak out about the issue.

“I’m not sure about April,” Shostak told PC Gamer. “Will they really sort it out between the banks, or will Ukraine still be cut out just in case? All my Ukrainian gamedev friends report the same situation. Some (me included) are just waiting for the next month, some decided to open accounts in foreign banks to be completely sure they get the next payment.”

Some game developers in Ukraine have chosen to volunteer to help people evacuate, and others are sheltering in place and hoping to outlast the ongoing siege of the country. Game developers are helping raise funds for the people of Ukraine via massive game bundle sales; Epic Games and Microsoft are also donating proceeds from fortnite sales to Ukraine relief organizations till April 3.

For more information on the situation in Ukraine, check out Vox’s in-depth look at the invasion.

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