The Fortnite team at Epic Games announced today that Fortnite players residing in Russia are no longer eligible to participate in Fortnite competitive tournaments with cash prizes. The decision will take effect on March 11.
According to the announcement, players will still be able to “earn in-game cosmetic rewards.” Russian players who have not claimed earnings from previous events will need to complete the reward verification process before March 22. Unclaimed cash rewards will be “frozen until Epic's payment service provider restarts reward support for players residing in Russia.”
The announcement shows that this is not a decision made by Epic Games voluntarily, but rather a decision they had to make. It seems likely that the company or institution that Epic pays does not want to pay Russian players or cannot because of the sanctions against the country.
The announcement was made exactly two weeks after Russia's invasion of Ukraine began. Epic is the latest in a series of companies, developers and tournament organizers to stop doing business with Russia after the invasion. Just last week, Nintendo, Bungie, Sony, YouTube, Twitch, EA, Apple, Activision Blizzard, AMD, Intel and others stopped sales and services in Russia. Epic Games stopped selling and trading its products in Russia a few days ago.
Other companies have taken a more proactive approach to the occupation. Devs Hi-Rez Studios and Riot Games have donated money to the Ukraine crisis, and Liquid's WoW guild is raising money during the Race to World First event, among others.