Putin makes bizarre push for Russian games console to rival PS5 and XBOX

Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to look into creating a games console to rival the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S, as the Russian leader seeks to satisfy the country’s vast community of gamers, according to reports.

Putin has ordered the government to “consider the issue of organising the production of stationary and portable game consoles,” Russian newspaper Kommersant (via ReadWrite) reports, citing a list of Presidential instructions published earlier this year.

The latest generation of game consoles and games are the culmination of decades of innovation, as well as heavy investment in the talent and the infrastructure to produce them.

Despite this, officials have reportedly set a deadline of June 15 this year to draw up the plans.

The orders also tasked officials with exploring the possibility of creating “an operating system and a cloud system for delivering games and programs to users,” like the popular Steam platform.

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But though the nation isn’t a major force in the industry compared with the likes of the US, Japan, and China, it has the largest player base in Europe as of 2018, with some 65.2 million gamers.

The majority of the industry ended its ties with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as the country was hit with punishing economic sanctions by numerous governments.

It’s thought the Kremlin is now attempting to effectively launch its own industry, and cash in on its scores of content-starved gamers.

Kommersant reports that the Russian leader has likely entrusted the tech company VK (the firm behind the country’s widely used social media platform of the same name) to carry out the plan.

However, the report noted that: “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.”

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