Following troubling allegations regarding the work environments at Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard, several gaming outlets have opted to halt coverage of any games released by the mega-publishers.
Last week, a pair of blockbuster reports by Kotaku’s Ethan Gach offered a look behind the curtain at Ubisoft Singapore, including pervasive instances of harassment. Those reports follow Kotaku’s deep dive from last year, showing the depth of misconduct at the Paris-based publisher. A year later, some Ubisoft employees believe the company hasn’t done enough to quash such behaviour.
Then, on Wednesday, Bloomberg first reported about a lawsuit, filed by the State of California, against Activision Blizzard. It claimed a poisonous “frat boy” culture at the mega-publisher, along with allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and even a death.
On Friday, Prima Games, best known for producing comprehensive strategy guides and walkthroughs for games big and small, indefinitely suspended coverage of games published by Ubisoft or Activision Blizzard.
“What this means is that all past coverage of properties from these companies published to the site prior to this statement being made, including our guides, will remain, but no new coverage will be written until these companies do more to enact meaningful change,” the site’s editorial staff wrote in a statement.
Gaming news and analysis site The Gamer will similarly halt coverage of Activision Blizzard games. “We’re going to stop covering Activision and Blizzard games until there’s some real change and this gaslighting bollocks ends. We’ll cover the ongoing news regarding the current story, but we won’t be covering the games,” editor-in-chief Kirk McKeand said on Twitter.
The popular YouTube channel GameXplain — which posts trailers, news, and reviews at a staggering rate and speed — offered a timeline for its coverage halt. “In light of the horrific sexual harassment allegations brought against Activision Blizzard, we are suspending any and all coverage of Activision Blizzard games for the remainder of the year, and perhaps indefinitely, until the work culture has been demonstrably improved,” the site said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Earlier this year, GameXplain found itself in hot water of its own, with multiple former workers speaking to Vice about an exploitative work environment that relied on paying workers low wages for long hours. (Disclosure: Patrick Klepek, the writer of Vice’s report, used to work at Kotaku.)
Neither GameXplain or The Gamer mentioned a halt on coverage of Ubisoft games. Kotaku reached out to all three publications for comment, but hadn’t heard back at press time.
Later this year, Activision Blizzard plans to release Diablo II: Resurrected, a remake of the classic loot-RPG, in the fall — and, of course, there’s Call of Duty (though this year’s expected release hasn’t yet been announced). Meanwhile, Ubisoft, as ever, has a stacked slate of releases, including the next major expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the action sports MMO Riders Republic, the open-world shooter Far Cry 6, and the team-based shooter, Rainbow Six Extraction, which was recently delayed.