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Published: February 23, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Ubisoft has heard fans’ complaints and has given up on its plans to host a Rainbow Six Major in the UAE
  • Many LGBT+ athletes and casters said they wouldn’t feel safe in the Arab country, despite Ubisoft assuring them it had spoken with the local government
  • Ubisoft’s decision has dealt a huge blow to the trust of the Arab gaming community

Ubisoft has decided to change the location of the Rainbow Six Siege Stage Two Major in the wake of a fan uprising.

Ubisoft Heard the Complaints Loud and Clear

Ubisoft has backed down on its plans to host a Rainbow Six Siege Stage Two Major in the United Arab Emirates after fans disputed the company’s choice of location. The event is still scheduled for August but will be moved to another region. The Rainbow Six Esports team communicated this new decision on Twitter, explaining that the safety of all its participants is always the top priority.

When Ubisoft announced the Abu Dhabi Major, many fans were concerned because the UAE hasn’t yet legalized homosexualism and transgenderism. Despite many locals pointing out that such people aren’t actively persecuted, the law still allows them to be, which concerned the LGBT+ athletes and casters.

Many people shared that they don’t feel safe crossing the UAE border, or even if they feel safe, they fear getting discriminated against. Following those concerns and a petition that garnished 13,000 signatures, Ubisoft has officially changed its mind.

Ubisoft Wasn’t Careless When it Chose the UAE

Ubisoft’s reason to choose the UAE is the steady growth of esports in the region. MENA harbors many passionate young athletes who wish for more opportunities to test their skills on a wider competitive scene.

“The MENA region has been fast evolving into a key video game hub in the world, and we are humbled by the level of engagement, support, and dedication of both local fans and the talented staff of our MENA team and Abu Dhabi development studio,” Ubisoft’s announcement reads.

The company shared that it didn’t feel the Major would have presented a danger to the LGBT+ community and emphasized that it had contacted the local esports organizations, its UAE partners and even the local government to ensure that no one will be discriminated against.

Despite that, Ubisoft didn’t want to risk the controversy deepening and chose to change the event’s location. To make up to Arab esports fans, the Rainbow Six Esports team will instead host a variety of smaller local events in the MENA region.

The Controversy Deepened Anyways

The Western got what they wanted but that left the MENA gaming community deeply disappointed. Fad, an Arab game developer, shared that he was deeply disappointed with Ubisoft and its decision to listen to “racist comments” that exaggerate the situation in the UAE. Fad feels that Ubisoft has now broken the trust it had built with the Arab gaming community – a community that was 10 years in the making.

Fad shared that a local game store has decided to stop selling Ubisoft games as a way to protest against the unjust treatment of Arab gamers.

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