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Another day goes by and yet another story about the mess surrounding Ubisoft. These seem to be long-standing issues within the company if Kotaku are to be believed. Allegedly a main source of the endearing turmoil within Ubisoft involves the company’s CEO Yves Guillemot. Fast forward to the present day, and the studio is once again in disarray, with problems arising yet again. Let’s try and work through what is going on with Ubisoft and why the CEO is allegedly not helping matters. We already know that their stock fell by 19% after the recent financial report, and Skull and Bones announced yet another delay at the same time.

The cause of the major uproar seems to be the announcement they as a studio were facing “major challenges as the industry continues to shift towards mega-brands and long-lasting titles.” As well as Skull and Bones facing yet another delay, which is not good for the troubled title, more information continued to appear. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora suffered a delay, and more games were canceled, including Ghost Recon: Frontlines and a Splinter Cell VR title. If things weren’t bad enough at Ubisoft, the last thing you need is more chaos. Yet that is what the company’s CEO Yves Guillemot, gave them. Let’s look at what has happened to make him a major talking point, and for all the wrong reasons.

What Yves Guillemot Did To Cause A Stir

We referenced an article from NME and several sources that allege Yves sent out an email that primarily focuses on the financial issue of falling stock prices. In addition, the email he sent out had some concerning content:

Today more than ever, I need your full energy and commitment to ensure we get back on the path to success. I am also asking that each of you be especially careful and strategic with your spending and initiatives, to ensure we’re being as efficient and lean as possible.

“The ball is in your court to deliver this line-up on time and at the expected level of quality, and show everyone what we are capable of achieving.”

Ubisoft’s CEO telling staff what is expected.

This message didn’t go unnoticed, as a tech-focused union “Solidaires Informatiques” has asked Ubisoft workers to go on strike on 27th January between 2-6 pm. They opened their statement by saying that “according to Guillemot: THE BALL IS IN OUR COURT! (but the money remains in his pocket)”.

They add the following in the statement

If the request to employees to be “ultra vigilant and strategic on all your expenses” is ironic in view of the editorial strategy of the company in recent years, it does not lend itself to laughter. When Mr. Guillemot speaks of “natural attrition” and “organizational adjustments”, it means: downsizing, discreet studio closures, wage compression, disguised layoffs, etc.

On several occasions, Mr. Guillemot tries to absolve himself of responsibility (once again) on employees; He expects us to be mobilized, to give “the best of ourselves”, to be “as effective as possible”. These words have a meaning: overtime, managerial pressure, burnout, etc.

Mr. Guillemot asks a lot of his employees, but without compensation.

They have a bullet point list asking a few points.

  • Have wages kept pace with the runaway inflation of recent years?
  • What about the implementation of the 4-day week?
  • What has been put in place for teams that come out of production exhausted (like Just Dance or Mario)?

What The Trade Union Want

They say they demand a few things

  • an immediate 10% increase for all wages, regardless of annual increases, to compensate for inflation. With the hundreds of millions of euros obtained from Tencent, money, there is in the coffers of the employers.
  • the improvement of working conditions, including the introduction of the 4-day week.
  • transparency on workforce changes, both locally and globally.
  • A firm commitment against disguised dismissals and condemnation against abusive managerial policies that push employees to resign.

The closing part of the statement from the union is that they are requesting employees to strike because “Mr. Guillemot and his clique only understand the balance of power, Solidaires Informatique calls on Ubisoft Paris employees to strike Friday, January 27 afternoon, from 2 to 6 pm.” It seems the mess at Ubisoft is really getting worse, and no doubt this story is far from over.

What are your thoughts on this situation at Ubisoft? What do you think Yves meant with his email? Do you think Ubisoft can make an honest change or is it too late?

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