Ahead of Ubisoft’s second summer showcase later today, the global video game publisher released a short video in which CEO Yves Guillemot apologized to all of those hurt by “certain Ubisoft employees” who failed to “uphold our company’s values.”
“I am truly sorry to everyone who was hurt,” Guillemot said. “We have taken significant steps to remove or sanction those who violated our values and code of conduct and we are working to improve our systems and processes.”
The Ubisoft CEO announced that the company will invest an additional $1 million over the next five years in the company’s graduate program to create more opportunities for “underrepresented groups;” in the video, Guillemot specifically mentions women and people of color. But other than that, Guillemot did not go into many specifics about who has been fired, why, or what Ubisoft’s investigations and third-party audits over the past two months have uncovered about systemic issues across the company.
The update comes after a wave of allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment, and workplace toxicity aimed at Ubisoft poured out on social media earlier this summer. Those were followed by additional reporting on issues at the company by several French and English speaking news outlets, including Kotaku, which revealed problems that appeared to go far beyond a few individuals.
In July, following the initial wave of allegations and reporting, Ubisoft announced the resignation of its chief creative officer in charge of overseeing game development, as well as other key figures within the company, followed by promises to do better, including changes to HR practices and its internal code of conduct. That announcement came the day before Ubisoft’s first “Forward” gaming showcase of the summer on July 12, but was not addressed at all during the actual event.
Ubisoft did not respond to a request for comment when asked if it would directly address the issues of misconduct during today’s digital presentation.
“We are at the start of a long journey, real change will take time,” Guillemot said. “But I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure everyone at Ubisoft feels welcome, respected and safe.”
Update – 1:16 p.m. ET, 9/10/20: According to the company’s Twitter account, Guillemot’s remarks will not be included in today’s main Ubisoft Forward livestream event “due to timing constraints.” It’s unclear what those timing constraints could be since Ubisoft controls how long the event runs and what’s in it.
Instead of making it officially a part of the showcase, the first of which garnered over 1 million viewers earlier in the summer, Ubisoft wrote in a tweet that it will instead tack the CEO’s apology onto the video-on-demand version of the show which is made available after the event ends.