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Ubisoft pro-worker group says management won't acknowledge demands

A Better Ubisoft was formed one year ago by current and former Ubisoft employees in a bid to hold the publisher to account, but claims its demands have fallen on deaf ears.

Justin Carter

July 28, 2022

3 Min Read
Header image for the pro-worker group A Better Ubisoft.

Pro-worker group A Better Ubisoft (ABU), formed in a bid to hold Ubisoft to account after numerous reports of harassment and misconduct rocked the company, said it's still waiting for management to meets its demands one year after it began petitioning the company. 

"It is one year to the day that we signed our open letter to Ubisoft management calling for far more action to tackle abuse and setting out our four key demands. None of our demands have been met," said ABU, suggesting Ubisoft -- despite pledging to remedy its culture using a five point plan-- is still falling wide of the mark in the eyes of some current and former employees.

Commenting on the situation on Twitter, ABU reiterated that it wants Ubisoft to do more to address abuse, and shared a deluge of statistics that suggest the French publisher is struggling to retain employees as a result of the ongoing cultural crisis.

The group noted that, of the Ubisoft employees who signed ABU's open letter calling for an industry-wide set of rules handling reports of offensive behavior, 25 percent have now left the Assassin's Creed publisher to work at other studios. It also added that, of those who quit, 60 percent used he/him pronouns, 39 percent used she/her, and one percent used they/them.

"Women represent just 25.4 percent of our global workforce," said ABU. "Which means that we are massively disproportionately losing women who signed our open letter calling for more action to tackle abuse." 

Previously, ABU had expressed frustration at receiving platitudes from Ubisoft. Its demands remain the same as it did in 2021: for Ubisoft to stop promoting and moving known offenders from studio to studio without any repercussion, to have a "meaningful say" in how Ubisoft moves forward as a company, and for its cross-industry rules to heavily involve union representatives and non-management employees. 

"You offer nothing more than your assurance that all investigations are impartial, all sanctions are appropriate and that victims and witnesses are protected," said the group in November, "while offering us no evidence, involvement or oversight in any part of the process [...] We hope you agree that no abuse should be tolerated and those of us who are the victims, reporters and witnesses should be listened to with respect and never dismissed as a minority concern."

Some kind of change is coming for the industry 

Although there are still vocal calls for meaningful cultural change within the games industry, it seems that some major companies are taking steps to address shortcomings related to crunch, harassment, and unionization. Yesterday, a Bloomberg report indicated that Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar has greatly improved its workplace culture after workers called out the company in 2018 for enforcing mandatory crunch.

Additionally, developers at VR studio Tender Claws successfully established their own union, while QA workers at Blizzard Albany have begun unionizing as well -- although those efforts haven't been voluntarily recognized by parent company Activision Blizzard.

The union, one of several at Activision Blizzard, has formed as the World of Warcraft and Call of Duty publisher attempts to remedy its own alleged "frat boy culture."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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