Playrix has been engaged in a colossal staff relocation program since April, and is still in the process of moving 1500 staff from Russia to new and existing offices in Ireland, Cyprus, Portugal, Serbia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Turkey.
A mobilegamer.biz source familiar with the plans has also verified recent reports in the Ukrainian press suggesting that the Homescapes maker is to close all operations in Russia and Belarus. That process will be completed “as soon as possible”, they said. This morning, Playrix officially confirmed the news, adding: “Playrix is committed to keeping its operations in Ukraine and providing continuous support to all of its 1500 employees there.”
Before the conflict, Playrix employed 150 people in Belarus and 1500 in Russia. Over 50% of the staff in Russia have been moved, and once all staff are out of the country, those offices will close.
Due to the volume of visa applications at several different embassies in the region, and the time it takes to get those approvals, Playrix has moved many staff temporarily to offices in Armenia, Kazakhstan and Turkey, nearby countries which do not require visas.
The source also told us that before the war started Playrix had around 40% of its staff in Russia, 40% in Ukraine and 20% elsewhere in Europe, mostly at its HQ in Dublin, Ireland. The headquarters in Dublin was established ten years ago, and all of the C-suite and critical functions are already based there.
“Since around week three of this war we started to move people out of Russia and Ukraine,” they said. “The plan was to move people to other European countries like Cyprus, Portugal, Ireland and Serbia, which is not part of Europe but is nearby.”
“The thing is, because of the refugee crisis, the review time for all visas is super long,” they continued. “In Russia, we have 1500 people so it was a challenge to get work permits for all of them. So what we’re doing right now is moving people to countries that are close to Russia and where there is no need for a visa.”
This includes countries like Armenia and Kazakhstan, where Playrix already had small offices. “These are now big offices,” says our source. “In Armenia we had an office for like 45 people, and now we have had to rent a new office for 150.”
“Hopefully within a couple of months we will have moved all of our people outside of Russia and we will close offices there, the company there – everything,” they added.
Reports on Playrix’s moves first emerged on Ukrainian tech title AIN.ua yesterday. The outlet obtained a screengrab from an internal Slack announcing that the company plans to close operations and move all staff based in Russia following “a new round of escalation” in the conflict. Our source verified the message published by AIN as legitimate.
It is co-signed by “Igor and Dima” – Playrix co-founders and brothers Igor and Dmytri Bukhman – and concludes: “We have a difficult period ahead of us, but we are confident that our team will cope with it. For our part, we will do everything possible for this. Take care of yourself.”
Playrix is among the top grossing game developers in the world. Appmagic data suggests that its two top titles Gardenscapes and Homescapes have each been downloaded over 500m times, with Playrix earning $2.79bn and $2.52bn respectively from those games to date.
Fishdom ($1.38bn revenue, 401m downloads to date) and Township ($1.31bn, 419m installs) are also key titles for the developer, which also makes Manor Matters, Wildscapes and Farmscapes.