Harassment, resignations, Forward … What is going on within Ubisoft?

Ubisoft saw its share price drop by more than 8% on Monday July 13 on the Paris Stock Exchange. This represents a decline of almost 800 million euros for the French company developing, publishing and distributing video games, estimates The echoes. Two recent news can explain this tumble: the accusations of harassment and sexual assault, and its event
“Ubisoft Forward”, described as disappointing by specialists in the sector.

A major reshuffle facing the accusations
About ten days ago, Release published an investigation in which around twenty witnesses accused a dozen Ubisoft managers of harassment and sexual assault. The charges particularly target the company’s number 2, Serge Hascoët. Faced with these statements, the video game publisher opened an internal investigation but also decided to carry out a major overhaul within its management.

So the creative director finally chose to resign. His role is now ensured in the interim by Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, announces the press release published on July 12 in the evening. “Yannis Mallat, director of the Ubisoft Canadian studios, leaves office and the company with immediate effect. Recent allegations in Canada against many workers prevent him from continuing to fulfill his responsibilities“Continues the press release. Finally, it is Cécile Cornet, director of human resources, who resigns from her position but does not leave the company.”More than ever, I am determined to implement profound changes in order to improve and strengthen our corporate culture“, concludes the CEO of Ubisoft.

After these accusations, it is the event “Ubisoft Forward” – supposed to compensate for the cancellation of one of the biggest video game fairs E3 – which disappointed the specialists of the sector. “There was a lack in terms of quality“, analyzes Charles-Louis Planade, video game expert at Midcap Partners, interviewed by Le Figaro. He see “a risk that the group could not release the five triple A games [jeux dotés des budgets de développement et de promotion les plus élevés, NDLR] “promised for its staggered 2020-2021 fiscal year after delays in the production of three major titles – Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine and Watch Dogs Legion – over the previous fiscal year.

Catastrophic results in 2019
Among the announcements, we can still note the release of Watch Dogs Legion scheduled for October 29, 2020 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on November 17. The French video game champion also showed some Far Cry 6 visuals, the release date of which is set for February 18. He also presented his “free to play”, including Hyper Scape with which Ubisoft intends to compete with Fortnite.

But this is not the first time that the French group’s share has fallen on the stock market. In October 2019, the stock lost 29% of its value following the announcement of catastrophic results. Ubisoft said that it would largely review its forecast sales for the year, going from 2.19 billion euros to 1.45 billion euros. Regarding profits, the publisher expected between 20 to 50 million euros against 480 million euros initially.

To explain this situation, the group argued that Ghost Recon Breakpoint and The Division 2 had not met the expected success. It is now to be hoped that the postponement of the three games, Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monster and Rainbow Six Quarantine, will have been beneficial to bring the best experience possible and compete with current headlines like Final Fantasy or The Last of Us.


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