Videogame culture is rife with inferiority complexes and fandoms full of insecurity that go after critics, journalists, and one another to prove the worth of videogames as art or as consumer goods. Videogame companies like Ubisoft reward this behavior with ever more innovative ways to squeeze money out of their loyal sycophants. Ubisoft, famous for repeated scandals around workplace impropriety including but not limited to sexual harassment, put out a game called Far Cry 6. It is the 15th game released in the series in the last 17 years.
The much anticipated game, which failed in all the ways people expected it to while trying to be both political and apolitical, has introduced a new feature that absolutely no one asked for. GamesIndustry.biz managing editor Brendan Sinclair let the world know through Twitter that, if you stop playing the game, you might hear about it from Ubisoft in the form of a goading email featuring Giancarlo Esposito as the game’s antagonist.
Twitter user Illegaldesi Gaming pointed out that you get an email from Castillo if you are successfully leading the movement against him. But, as a Kotaku reader informed Luke Plunkett, even if you’ve spent 33 hours in the game, you’ll still get the taunting style of email if you take time off from the game.
I’m not entirely sure what they gain from harassing players for taking breaks from the game (the idea is to get players to stick around for in-game purchases), but I hope it was worth the mixed-at-best social media response and in the gaming press. I genuinely would love to see the numbers. Is it worth the money to continually lose the goodwill of people who would otherwise love to play your games? Does the balance sheet reflect that sending intrusive emails to taunt people for doing other things with their lives (like playing other games, hanging out with their families, or sleeping) produces enough income to outweigh the public relations hit? Is it acceptable because it weeds out people that are alienated by these things and cultivates a fanbase that craves corporate intrusion?
I couldn’t say. But, apparently, whether you’ve logged three hours or 33 in the game, if you take a break, you’ll hear about it.
This from a company being investigated for workplace harassment and discrimination in Canada and France since at least last year with many employees disappointed in what steps have been taking to make change, and apparently the most hated game company on Twitter.
Kevin Fox, Jr. is a writer, historian, nonprofit worker, and Paste intern. He loves videogames, pop culture, sports, and human rights, and can be found on Twitter @kevinfoxjr.