in Gaming

Ubisoft relocates Rainbow Six Siege tournament from UAE following major backlash

Ubisoft collage of games - Ubisoft LinkedIn

Ubisoft has announced on Tuesday, February 22, that they will be relocating the Six Major esports tournament for Rainbow Six Siege from the United Arab Emirates after backlash from the game’s community.

Ubisoft in a statement stated the tournament will be relocated to another Rainbow Six esports region, although Ubisoft is yet to announce the exact location of said region.

“We have taken the decision to move the Six Major of August 2022 to another Rainbow Six Esports region, with the exact location yet to be determined,” the statement reads.

Ubisoft’s further response, UAE anti-LGBTQ+ laws

Ubisoft also defended its initial plan of choosing UAE as conducting the event in that location is made for everyone, including gender, sexual orientation, background, and more. The company added that it has always been the case looking back on other previous esports events in UAE.

“Choosing this location for a Six Major was the result of extensive discussions with our local teams in the region, the UAE government, and our local Esports partner, and their collective commitment that a Six Major in Abu Dhabi would be an event in which anyone, of all gender identities, sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds, or other individual traits, would be included and welcomed, as has been the case with humorous other events previously held in the city,” the middle part of the statement reads.

Additionally, an esports insider added, despite Ubisoft and its partners in the UAE’s efforts in reassuring the community that the esports tournament will be inclusive, the fact remains in the UAE which prohibits LGBTQ+ relationships and the community is right to bring out the issue considering some of the game’s characters would broke headlines in the UAE if they were real people.

Originally planned to be hosted in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the Rainbow Six’s community thinks that the location does not reflect the game’s diverse fan base, following the country’s strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws and poor record of human rights abuses.

Petition from community

In a petition made by a user named Ellie Chapman, posted on Change.org which garnered 13,660 signatures at the time of writing this article, Chapman said that Ubisoft’s decision is short-sighted, dangerous, and backward to the developing ideology of esports, the game, and its community.

“With the inclusion of LGBTQ+ members of R6:S talent, we believe as a collective that this decision is short-sighted, dangerous and backwards to the developing ideology of esports, Rainbow Six: Siege and it’s community. Within SI 2022, there was an emphasis on the importance of Rainbow’s community, and this announcement is borderline insulting to our identity. We demand a change,” the petition reads.

Supporting to move the Six Major is Rainbow Six Siege caster Parker “Interro” Mackay said in a tweet that it was “absolutely the correct decision”.

Despite the major community backlash they faced, Ubisoft also stated their plans to work on the growing competitive scene of Rainbow Six Siege in the MENA region.

While the next location for the tournament is yet to be announced, fans might expect new development about the new location as the initial tournament date in the UAE is set for August 2022, and preparation for esports tournament is not easy, from logistics, marketing, to legal and more.