Valve stops paying Ukrainian game developers

Valve Corporation, an American video game developer, has stopped making payments for games to Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian developers. While the halt of payments to users from Russia and Belarus can be explained by the war and sanctions, the decision about Ukrainian game developers is perplexing. The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine has recently contacted Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell concerning this issue. AIN.Capital shares the details.

What’s happened

On March 17, 2022, Ukrainian game developers started receiving letters from Valve stating that payments would not be made to their cards. The explanation in those letters was as follows: Due to the current environment, we are unable to send bank payments to Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

One Ukrainian solo developer, who wished to remain unnamed, told AIN.Capital that he also received a similar letter. And when he contacted a support team of Steam, they said that payments would not be made until at least the end of March, and the reason was the decision of the American bank:

“Our bank requires us to provide data on all intermediary banks for payments to the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Also, it will not allow payments to Belarus.”

The developer was promised that the company would process information about correspondent banks and resume payments. And in case he could not wait, he was advised to provide payment information from a non-Ukrainian bank.

This was happening en masse. The company actually limited Ukrainian developers’ earnings during the war, when these funds could have been critical for business survival, family evacuations, volunteering, etc. Given that Ukrainian banks were not subject to US sanctions related to the war, this decision by Valve looks strange.

Ministry of Digital Transformation Actions

On April 15, 2022, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Oleksandr Borniakov, published an official letter from the Ministry to Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell:

Screenshot of the letter published by Oleksandr Borniakov

The Ministry of Digital Transformation called on Valve to resume payments to Ukrainian game developers or provide a clear explanation of why the company can not make these payments.

AIN.Capital will follow the further development of this situation.

P.S. Shame on you, Gabe.