Abuse allegations at Ubisoft haven’t improved, despite CEO’s claim
This story about harsh realities, boiled down, in 2:02 minutes.
What’s the fuss?
Public allegations of abuse and harassment have plagued Ubisoft, one of the largest video game publishers in the world. Since it’s wake, Ubisoft’s CEO says changes are coming for the better, despite recent reports claiming nothing has improved since.
Ubisoft is home to some of the biggest franchises in gaming, due mostly to its more than 14,000 employees working in over 40 different studios around the globe. Unfortunately, these employees reportedly do not work in the safest of conditions. Last year, Ubisoft faced widespread allegations of misconduct regarding a number of their studios, including accusations of mishandling sexual misconduct claims.
The CEO of Ubisoft officially released a statement to address the wave of allegations. According to the announcement, several channels have been set up so employees can anonymously report inappropriate behaviour that are addressed by an independent external party. Ubisoft has also strengthened their internal HR and harassment policies, implemented new inclusivity performance metrics, and replaced a number of executives. Despite these changes, many employees have testified that little impact has been realized in quelling the toxic culture.
Boiling it down
You would think that making video games for a living is a dream job. In reality, working conditions aren’t exactly ideal. Employees are regularly overworked (known in the industry commonly as “crunch”) with attempts to unionize being overturned. In addition, the industry lacks diversity with multiple reports of hostility directed towards women. Fortunately, with employees being increasingly vocal about the issues at hand, industry-wide workplace conditions are improving — but certainly not fast enough.
The statement from Ubisoft’s CEO certainly is welcome, but may not be so altruistic under the surface. The fact is that bad PR negatively affects sales — gamers have been trending #HoldUbisoftAccountable on Twitter as well as boycotting the purchase of Ubisoft games and services in response to the allegations. This attempt to save face simply may not be enough to restore Ubisoft’s reputation to what it was.