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Ubisoft worried 'inappropriate' behavior could hurt staff hiring and retention

Ubisoft has indicated the "occurrence of inappropriate behaviour by employees" has become a very real risk to the company.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 9, 2021

2 Min Read

Ubisoft has indicated the "occurrence of inappropriate behaviour by employees" has become a very real risk to the company. 

As spotted by Axios, the French publisher added the risk factor to its recently published universal registration document, and noted it could also affect its ability to attract and retain talent. 

The Assassin's Creed maker currently believes inappropriate employee behaviour poses a "moderate" risk to its business, but notably upgraded the risk of failing to "attract and retain talent" to "high" (as shown below).

Ubisoft noted that upgrade was partly due to increasing pressure from its direct competitors, bit also conceded that damage to its "reputation and image, or to its working environment" could also impact its ability to keep employees. 

The admission comes after a number of high-ranking Ubisoft employees were accused of workplace misconduct and harassment, suggesting the company had implemented a regime that had allowed misconduct to flourish. Those allegations led to a series of dismissals and resignations, although some of those accused of misconduct were simply given new roles within the company.

In an extensive report based on the testimonies of more than a dozen former and current Ubisoft employees, Gamasutra found that the allegations of abuse and misconduct ran deep at Ubisoft, suggesting those at the very top of the company had failed to take meaningful action to address serious staff concerns. 

In the weeks and months following those reports, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said the studio 'undertook profound actions' to address any culture concerns and outlined a five proved plan to help protect employees moving forward. 

Writing in the universal registration document, the company reiterated many of those steps and said it has "undertaken structural changes in line with its values, which do not tolerate any toxic behaviour whatsoever."

"This type of harmful behaviour can lead to the departure of people at all hierarchical levels of Ubisoft, which can lead to a loss of efficiency within the teams and valve creation within the Group," reads the risk descriptor in the document. "Similarly, Ubisoft's reputation and image could be harmed, which could also affect Ubisoft's attractiveness for new talents and lead to distrust in the gaming community.

"In mid-June 2020, the Group was struck by a movement to denounce toxic and sexist behaviour within Ubisoft's teams, which was relayed by social networks and the media. Although Ubisoft has taken this situation very seriously, making every effort to remedy it and has demonstrated its resilience, the Group cannot provide an absolute guarantee that this type of risk will be controlled."

You can read the full universal registration document right here.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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