IN THE NEWS: What is Going on With Ubisoft?

It was nearly a year ago that a French newspaper named Libération blew the lid off of what has been described as a “toxic culture” at Ubisoft. Normally, I like to wait to hear with the accused side says before ever jumping to any conclusions. But when Ubisoft then basically admitted that there were things going on within the company that shouldn’t have been occurring, it seemed to validate the previous news articles on the subject. Last summer, we had the resignation of executives and supposedly a plan in place to prevent workplace abuse from happening in the future. Gamesindustry.biz has an article that sums up the series of events that you can access by CLICKING HERE.

Now it is a year later and a recent gamesindustry.biz article is reporting that the changes to the workplace have been “minimal,” which gives the impression that they have not been substantial enough to ensure a safer work environment. As a result, the phrase “Hold Ubisoft Accountable” has been recently trending in the gaming community with many on social media platforms calling for fellow gamers to stop supporting the company financially until its workplace issues are addressed.

Capture Credit: Ubisoft.com
Above is a portion of an update provided by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot on what measures the company implemented over the past year to improve its workplace.

There is an updated post by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot that is dated May 24th on the Ubisoft website. In it, he laid out how the organization has appointed several new executives and engaged more than 10,000 employees over the past year. But is what the company doing enough? The #HoldUbisoftAccountable movement does not think so.

What are my thoughts? If you have a big enough company, there are going to be cases of misconduct, abuse, and harassment that will take place. This isn’t an endorsement of it at all but a reality that happens when you have a large number of human beings together. What matters most is how the company deals with these issues. The response and also the preemptive measures put in place are what help to create a safe and positive working environment.

That being said, from what I have read about how the company has handled accusations and maintaining the same human resources staff all of these issues happened under is troubling. Other than purchasing games from the publisher, I have no affiliation or insider experience with Ubisoft. So I do keep in mind that as I’m reading the information, I don’t have any personal experience with the company to measure it up against. Yet, we have to ask ourselves the question as to why a publication would be reporting that minimal changes have taken place within the company and where such information is coming from? As a former journalist myself, I know that there are times that legitimate people with legitimate information to share will not go on the record and be identified for fear of reprisal. But what they share can be verified as true with enough investigation and research. Furthermore, I don’t believe a movement comes from nothing.

Credit: @TheCodexNetwork
Above is a statement by Assassin’s Creed fan site, The Codex Network

Unfortunately, what many corporations do when pressed for accountability on serious issues is offer up public relations-sounding statements that come off as nothing more than attempting to pacify public concerns. These statements can easily be perceived as mechanical and detached. As a result, the effort in reaching out to the public with a statement can end up being taken as a method the organization is using to sweep its troubles under the rug. If Ubisoft wants the gaming community to believe what it is doing is working, then we need to hear from employees directly that legitimately have positive things to say about those changes. They also need to be employees that don’t seem like company plants. These are the voices that are missing that could possibly give another perspective to the story. Otherwise, it is the word of the worker versus the word of the corporation. And in our society, the worker will always have a sympathetic edge.

I will continue to follow this story and I do believe that Ubisoft does need to be held accountable, as does any company that has a public history of having an unsafe working environment. What’s interesting is that on websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed.com, their reviews are very comparable to peer companies such as Electronic Arts and Epic Games. Although the recent Indeed.com reviews for Ubisoft do point out issues related to the workplace environment. I did expect worse reviews than what I read considering the outrage I’ve read and heard from the gaming community. At the end of the day, if Ubisoft is really doing everything it can to ensure the well-being of its employees, I believe the evidence of that will win out in the end. But at this point, I will admit I’m not in a position or informed enough to come to render a full judgment on the company. What is true is that Ubisoft still has some significant work left to do. I also pray that those who have been wronged by and within the company get justice.

The journalist background in me mainly wanted to just share the information and allow you to come to your own conclusion. That is why there are more hyperlinks than normal in this post. What are your thoughts?

-TVGA
admin@videogamersadvocate.com

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