Ubisoft CEO Reportedly Apologizes For “The Ball Is on Your Side” Email


Ubisoft has apologized after it recently released an “alarming” strategic update to its employees.

The French video game publisher said last week it was facing some “serious challenges as the industry continues to shift to mega-brands and long-lasting games.”

Consequently, Ubisoft again postponed the release of the long-awaited Skull & Bones for another year, and also canceled three unannounced games. It plans to increase its focus on its biggest brands and online services after lower-than-expected results over Christmas.

In addition, the publisher announced plans to reduce costs by about 200 million euros (174,899 pounds) over the next two years “through targeted restructuring, the sale of some non-core assets and the usual natural depletion.”

According to the Financial Times, the company’s stock price has fallen by 19% since the announcement.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has since contacted employees via email to shift the blame onto them. “Today, more than ever, I need your full energy and commitment to get us back on the path to success,” he wrote.

“I also ask each of you to be especially careful and strategically approach your expenses and initiatives so that we are as efficient and economical as possible.”

Guillemot continued: “The ball is on your side to provide this squad on time and at the expected level of quality, as well as to show everyone what we are capable of.”

Now, according to EuroGamer, the CEO has apologized for his ambiguous statements. It is said that he spoke about the contents of his email during a corporate-wide question and answer session that took place yesterday (January 18).

“I’ve heard your feedback and I’m sorry it was taken that way,” Guillemot reportedly told staff at the beginning of the session.

“By saying ‘the ball is on your side’, in order to present our squad on time and with the expected level of quality, I wanted to convey the idea that I need your talent and energy more than ever to make this happen.”

He added: “This is a collective journey that begins, of course, with me and with the leadership team to create the conditions for all of us to succeed together.”

After the initial email, the French trade union Solidaires Informatique called on Ubisoft Paris workers to hold a half-day strike next Friday (January 27).

“According to Guillemot: the ball is on our side (but the money remains in his pocket),” the statement said.

“If asking employees to be “especially careful and strategic in their spending” is ironic, given the company’s editorial strategy of the past few years, it’s not funny.

“When Mr. Guillemot talks about “layoffs” and “organizational adjustments,” it means: staff cuts, inconspicuous studio closures, salary cuts, disguised layoffs, etc.”

Solidaires Informatique also published a list of four requirements for Ubisoft — an immediate 10 percent wage increase “to compensate for inflation” and improved working conditions, including the introduction of a four-day working week.

It is reported that in yesterday’s questions and answers, Ubisoft’s chief human resources officer Anika Grant rejected the offer of a four-day working week, as well as requests for a salary increase in accordance with inflation.

It is reported that Guillemot remained uncertain about possible dismissals during the session. “It’s not about doing more with less, it’s about finding ways to do things differently in the company,” he reportedly told employees.


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