Research: How many game developers went abroad after February 24?

Almost 20% of the surveyed Russian-speaking game developers had left their home countries by the beginning of April. These are the results of a survey conducted at the end of March and Talents In Games.

1. Methodology

From March 25 to April 1, visitors they could fill out a special form in which there were questions about relocation.

The difference between this form and traditional questionnaires was in its contextuality. Most of the subsequent questions depended on the previous ones.

The first version of the questionnaire

During the week, 426 people from 3 countries working in 17 gaming specialties took part in our survey.

We segmented the final data first by country, and within regions (if possible) by specialty.

By the way, among the respondents the most was:

  • game designers (27.9%);
  • programmers (13.5%);
  • artists (12.6%);
  • top managers (11%);
  • marketers (8.5%);
  • line managers (7.8%).

2. Russia

85.6% of our respondents are developers from Russia. Based on the answer to the main question of the study (“Did you move due to the situation after February 24”), we divided the respondents into three main groups:

  • the first wave — those who left during the first month of the confrontation;
  • the second wave is those who did not have time to leave at the end of March, but are about to leave the country;
  • the remaining ones are all the others.

2.1 The first wave

17.8% of respondents who have recently worked in Russia noted that they have left the country and are currently abroad.

The most popular destinations of the first wave are Turkey (25.4%), Armenia (17.9%), Georgia (16.4%), Kazakhstan (7.5%) and Serbia (7.5%). Cyprus and Thailand are also worth noting.

In 58.2% of cases, the developers of the first wave independently paid for the relocation. We have not identified a statistical pattern where employees mostly moved at their own expense, and where companies mainly transported them.

83.6% of respondents who have already moved report that they are satisfied with the move.

However, most note that they encountered problems when moving. The most common is to find a place to live. 47% of developers faced this challenge in a new country for themselves.

Also, for many (44%), it became a problem to enter a new regime and get used to new conditions (30%). A significant number of respondents (29%) noted that the flight itself was very stressful for them. Another 26% of developers said that it was a problem for them to find money to move.

Important: only 11% of those who have moved are not going to return to Russia. About 75% of the developers who left as part of the first wave plan to return home. Someone already this year, someone in a couple of years, and someone is waiting for “everything to calm down.”

2.2 Second wave

24.5% of respondents from among Russian game developers noted that they are currently preparing to leave.

Of these, 54% said they were collecting money for departure, 46% were collecting papers, and 8.6% noted that everything was ready for them, it remained to wait for a suitable flight.

The respondents of the second wave have a slightly different main direction than the first wave — Cyprus (16.3%), Turkey (12%) is only in second place, followed by Georgia (9.8%), Armenia (8.7%). There is also almost equal interest in Kazakhstan and Serbia.

75% of the respondents of the second wave are going to leave at their own expense. Only 15% of them will be paid for by the employer.

It is noteworthy that among the game developers who are just about to leave, the proportion of those who are not going to return to Russia at all is much higher — almost 29%.

2.3 Remaining in Russia

Most of the surveyed Russian game developers (57.7%) at the moment not only continues to stay in Russia, but also has no plans to leave in the near future.

2.3.1 Planning to leave (potential third wave)

However, among them there is a solid proportion of specialists who note that they also have plans for relocation. There were 33.6% of them.

But, since this is only in the plans, there is no strong predominance of any directions. In the region of 10% only Cyprus, Serbia and Thailand. Georgia, Armenia and Turkey have about 5%. Also close to 3% in the UAE, Spain and Portugal.

70% of those planning to leave in the future share that they will do it at their own expense. 16.4% noted that the employer is ready to pay for their relocation.

Among them, the share of those planning to leave Russia forever is even higher — 35.6%.

2.3.2 Not going to leave

The majority of Russian developers who are still in the country (not including those who are currently preparing to move) are not going to leave the country (we are talking about 66.4%).

Among them, the most popular answer to the question of why they stay is “I don‘t see the need. This is my country.” So 45.1% answered.

Also a popular answer is “Parents /family /friends/ work are here, I can’t take it and give it up.” It is followed by 33.3%.

Another 15.3% of respondents said that they do not have the financial opportunity to move, and the employer is not ready to take the relocation costs on themselves.

Only less than 1% answered that they like to live in Russia.

2.4 Segmentation by profession

2.4.1 Game designers

In the context of game designers, the situation with the move is not much different from the all-Russian one. Most (60%) of these specialists are still in Russia, 19% have already moved, and 21% are now actively collecting money and documents for relocation to another country.

The most popular destinations among those game designers who have already left the country are Armenia (25%), Turkey (20%) and Georgia (20%).

55% of game designers moved at their own expense. At the expense of the employer, 40% of respondents flew away, another 5% reported that the employer partially compensated them for relocation.

Of those game designers who only pack suitcases, 13.6% of respondents are going to Georgia. In second place with about 10% are several destinations at once, among which: Thailand, Turkey and Kazakhstan.

The majority (46%) of game designers remaining in the country say that they do not see the need to move, while 17% note that they do not have money to change their location.

2.4.2 Programmers

The majority of Russian programmers are still staying in Russia (63.5%). 21.2% of them are going to leave in the near future, and 15.4% have already changed their location.

Those who moved mostly did it at their own expense (75%). Among those programmers who are leaving just now, the percentage of those leaving the country at their own expense is even higher — 90%.

The most popular destinations for programmers who have left are Georgia and Turkey, and Armenia and Latin America (20% each) for those who are going to leave.

40% of programmers do not see any need to move. Only 13% of respondents stated that they do not have the financial capacity to relocate.

2.4.3 Artists

Among artists, the proportion of specialists “sitting on suitcases” is quite high — 35%. Perhaps this is due to the high number of outsourcers among them. It was them that the situation hit in the first place.

Artists who moved within the first wave moved at their own expense in 57% of cases. In other cases (43%), the employer was responsible for this (although this happened in different formats, for example, someone was paid only for the flight and the hotel in the first days).

Artists of the second wave in 90% of cases are going to move at their own expense. They go mainly to Turkey (30%) and Georgia (23%). 35% have everything ready to move, another 30% are collecting papers.

Among those artists who are still staying in Russia, 42% noted that they are thinking about leaving the country (this is a fairly high percentage relative to the “average temperature in the hospital“).

Those who remain in the country are mostly kept by parents and family (43%).

2.4.4 Marketers

The share of those who left among marketers is relatively high — 25%. The same number are currently preparing for relocation.

The high percentage of marketers who left is most likely due to the fact that after the entry into force of a number of sanctions (including from Google), many of the specialists simply became impossible to do their duties in Russia.

The marketers who left the country mostly left at their own expense. Those who are just planning to leave, in half of the cases, will go on the road with the support of the employer.

Among the remaining marketers in Russia, 64.3% said that they have no plans to move. 44.4% simply do not see the need for this. The rest noted that they were not ready to change the country for personal reasons.

2.4.5 Line management

If we talk about line managers, only 16.5% of them left in the first wave. They are actively working to move — 33.3%.

Of the things worth noting, we only note that 70% of respondents who do not plan to go abroad explained this by the fact that there are parents, family, friends whom they are not ready to leave.

2.4.5 Top management

Only 21.7% of the gaming top management reported about the move. Moreover, the percentage of those who are going to leave Russia in the near future is relatively low (slightly more than 17%).

The main areas of relocation for relocated top managers are Turkey (30%), Kazakhstan (20%), Armenia (20%). Those who are just going to move mainly fly to Cyprus (50%).

Those top managers who still work here, for the most part, have no plans to move (71.4%). Most of them (65%) believe that there is no such need at the moment.

3. Belarus

6.4% of the respondents were from Belarus. Such a percentage, unfortunately, does not allow us to make a detailed analysis by analogy with Russia. The figures presented would simply be unrepresentative.

The available data only allows us to make a very approximate conclusion on the situation in the republic. After February 24, 28.6% of the game developers we interviewed left the country, and almost 30% noted that they would leave soon.

Again, the available amount of data does not allow us to speak with statistical certainty about the main directions of relocation, but Poland often flashes among the answers.

4. Ukraine

Also, 4.8% of the specialists we interviewed were from Ukraine. By analogy with Belarus, these data are not enough for in-depth analysis. Among the Ukrainian game developers reading us, almost 60% noted that they are still in the country. Almost 30% have moved.


In the event that the second wave of relocation does take place, then a Russian-speaking game developer may find himself in a situation where up to 40% of his staff will be abroad, thus being closer directly to the owners, most of whom have either moved or opened a legal entity outside their home countries for a long time.

The largest percentage among those who have moved or are about to move is among artists and marketers who were previously most closely involved in working with Western companies. At the same time, the proportion of programmers who have left is quite low (again, among them is the largest percentage of people who are satisfied with their standard of living in the country).

The main directions for relocation at the moment directly depend on the openness of borders. The main stream is moving to where it is possible to fly away. These are Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan.

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