It’s been a rough few years for Ubisoft. After a string of successful, mainstream hits, the publisher has struggled to keep the momentum going. It has been described as a ” toxic workplace “, plagued by a toxic management structure that is responsible for the current culture of fear and intimidation at Ubisoft.
To the incredulity of many, the video game giant Ubisoft has released a management document called “Truth, Trust and Accountability” that details the poor management practices that inspired a massive staff exodus, and the subsequent loss of talent and image. The document is dated from the start of the year, and the year ended with a major layoff of employees, as reported in the PC gaming press, with the gaming community, and even a few of Ubisoft’s own employees.
This headline may seem like sentimental news, but the statements made are in fact part of Ubisoft’s own Universal Registration Document, a binding document for publicly traded companies that outlines both the risks and outcomes for the company they emanate from.
This document was released in June. In the Risks and Internal Controls section, Ubisoft states that the massive and widespread sexual harassment scandal resulted in the loss of key talent, damaged the company’s reputation and image, which could lead to a lack of game production and loss of revenue, and that the lost key positions could not be replaced immediately, resulting in delays in decision making, postponement of expenses or loss of leadership for the teams involved. The scandal was also a hindrance to [the company’s] attractiveness and retention of talent.
The document states that Ubisoft has a zero tolerance policy towards harassment, but also that the company cannot give an absolute guarantee that such risks will be contained. In passing, readers will recall that the French media published an analysis this spring showing that little had changed internally for employees. An example of this inability to learn is the Assassin’s Creed live-action announcement, where Jonathan Dumont, one of those accused of being rude in a management position, was given the role of creative director.