Necessity could be the mother of invention in Russia, which would seek to compensate for the departure of video game giants with locally produced technology.
Russian state-backed technology and industrial production conglomerate Rostec is seeking to create its own game engine that developers would be allowed to use to build the framework for video games, according to the business newspaper. Kommersant reported.
In March, Nintendo announced it would suspend all exports to Russia, joining international companies that had vowed to leave the country shortly after President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine.
Sony Interactive Entertainment has suspended PlayStation Store operations and the launch of Gran Turismo 7 in Russia. A number of technology companies have followed suit, such as the American company Electronic Arts (EA). Microsoft also announced the halt of all sales of products and services, including Xbox.
Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive has announced that it will stop selling and allowing installs of its games in Russia and Belarus. It happened just before the release of Grand Theft Auto V on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.
Quoting an anonymous source, Kommersant said on Tuesday that Rostec chief Sergei Chemezov had asked the Russian Ministry of Digital Development for support through the state investment fund Rosinfocominvest, which backs IT startups.
The newspaper says the government is “carefully” considering the idea of funding “Russia’s first game engine”, although Rostec may ask for the money to come from other sources of venture capital.
However, the issue of developing a locally produced game engine was first raised in May at a meeting involving gaming industry and presidential officials, according to Kommersant.
The newspaper reports that a “niche has been cleared” and that the technology could contribute to Russia’s “technological sovereignty” and integrate into other areas such as virtual reality (VR) projects, education and cinema.
The source told the newspaper that it was an “interesting project” and that “we are ready to participate in it with other interested companies and departments”. The report does not mention the development of a game console.
The mass exodus of Western companies from Russia has isolated the country which had been a good source of growth for the past two decades.
Starbucks, Marriott and Louis Vuitton were among many brands that acted to distance themselves from the Russian war.
One of the most high-profile departures was that of McDonald’s, which was sold to a Russian businessman who put his own local stamp on the brand, which is now called Vksuna i Tochka (Delicious and it’s is all), although it had problems starting.
Newsweek contacted Rostec for comment.