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Russia would like to manufacture its own game consoles

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Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, international companies have refused to do business in the country, including the major video game console makers Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. In response, President Vladimir Putin has issued a directive for Russia to manufacture its own gaming console. The Presidential Edict gives the Russian committee until June 15th to formulate a plan.

Notably, the edict demands a plan for producing both “stationary and portable game consoles.” Russian newspaper Kommersant explained the situation by stating, “Market participants say that there is no competence to produce their own PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and creating such a system from scratch will take up to ten years.”

There’s speculation that instead of taking on the PlayStation and Xbox, a proposed Russian console would instead function more like Valve’s Steam Deck, which would only require PC parts to manufacture. This strategy would forgo the lengthy R&D required to design a console, which, as manufacturers discovered during the COVID shipping shutdown, requires extensive mineral resources.

Despite the proliferation of economic sanctions and bans against goods arriving in Russia, foreign consoles are still reaching consumers. The gaming black market has grown in size over the last year, which is likely why Putin wants the government to step up and make a domestic console. If produced, there’s a good chance that parts will also be smuggled in, likely through China, one of the few nations still doing open business with Russia that has the capability of producing console parts.

Regardless of what type of console Russia produces, it will not be able to compete on the market, and the further demand for a custom OS and a cloud-based service attached to the console, is, per most reports out of Russia, beyond the capability of the nation’s tech companies at this time.

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