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Ubisoft is working with police to crack down on online abuse.

by on09 February 2023

It is not free speech if you are threatening people or grooming kids

Ubisoft has signed a first-of-its-kind deal with police to try and tackle online abuse.

Abusive behaviour, death threats and grooming - can be found in online gaming spaces, and Ubisoft wants to be on the right side of history.

Newcastle-based Ubisoft Customer Relationship Centre manager Damien Glorieux said at five locations worldwide, staff will monitor how players of Ubisoft games are getting on. They will respond to requests for help and actively get involved with the communities that have evolved around their titles. They deal with everything from purchasing issues to online toxicity.

While other outfits have similar set-ups, Ubisoft is getting Northumbria Police involved.

An agreement is in place so that in extreme cases where there is a threat to life or potential serious harm spotted, staff can fast-track the information to police.

Glorieux said: "We wanted to focus on the most extreme cases, make sure we do the right thing there because it gives us a solid foundation to build the rest of our work around."

Less than 0.01% of cases the centre deals with require police intervention. That works out as roughly a handful of cases a month. Most of the time, accounts will be temporarily banned or permanently closed if players have breached a code of conduct.

Some of the staff here argue that the games industry has yet to talk about the reality of online play for too long. They say it needs to be more open and proactive in discussing the steps to tackle unpleasant, dangerous or threatening behaviour.

Northumbria Police Detective Chief Superintendent Deborah Alderson argues that policing "prioritises protecting the vulnerable".

"That means all of our communities, not just the ones that we see in person, but our online communities as well. Policing changes continually, demands evolve, and we have different challenges all the time - our job is to evolve with it."


Last modified on 09 February 2023
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