Ubisoft is an active member of the Fair Play Alliance, a coalition of studios and publishers dedicated to fostering positive and safe player communities. Through collaboration with other industry leaders in the Fair Play Alliance, Ubisoft can exchange ideas and discuss solutions for reducing player toxicity, as well as learn and ideate effective ways to address those issues and manage player safety. This led to the creation of the Fair Play Program, a new platform launching today on Ubisoft Connect designed to raise awareness on disruptive behaviors in the gaming community, help players recognize their own triggers, and how they can better understand the roots of those behaviors to overcome them.
The program consists of five learning capsules with nine videos, one quiz, one self-assessment, and one commitment, which take about 25 minutes to complete in total. Jeremy Marchadier, director of player safety at Ubisoft, spoke with Ubisoft News about the effects of toxicity in gaming, how the Fair Play Program was developed, and why it's needed.
Negative behaviors in gaming can have an extremely disruptive effect. "We noticed in studies that players can understand cheating as a disruptive behavior, because they aren't playing by the same rules," says Marchadier. "But talking offensively in chat, harassing other players, or even not following a team leader during competitive play are all also disruptive behaviors."
According to Marchadier, disruptive behaviors in gaming is a difficult issue to address, and one for which there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Marchadier and his team set out to create a program that would proactively address disruptive behaviors and would focus on educating players and preventing toxicity before it happens. This initiative is a continuation of Ubisoft's bigger journey of creating gaming structures that foster more rewarding social experiences and avoid harmful interactions through multiple approaches such as the recently announced "Zero Harm in Comms" research project launched with Riot Games.The Fair Play Program was designed in collaboration with a group of digital-learning experts, psychologists, internal Ubisoft creatives, and Ubisoft's Online Services team. The team also looked at studies provided by the Fair Play Alliance, all focusing on player behavior, player protection, impact on gameplay, and the impact of player well-being. "At the root of all those subjects was the idea that it's important to manage the emotional aspect in gaming," says Marchadier.
The modules are intended to help players understand situations that cause negative behaviors, the behaviors themselves, and the impact they have on other players. The Fair Play Program is designed to teach by example, rather than give an exact definition of toxic behaviors with no room for nuance. The videos will show instances of disruptive behavior that will help players think differently about their own interactions while playing, as well as tools players can use if they are exposed to disruptive behaviors.
"The Fair Play Program will spread some seeds to help people understand the root cause of being disruptive," explains Marchadier. "But we don't have a glossary; it's really about the code of positive conduct we expect from our communities." After watching the videos and completing the assessments, players will be given the opportunity to sign a commitment to act appropriately and promote positive behaviors in Ubisoft games."
The Fair Play Program also features interviews with a pro Rainbow Six Siege esports player and a coach, who will talk about how engaging in positive behavior helps maximize their team's potential and bolsters the competitive scene.
The Fair Play Program is designed to be beneficial for players of all genres, from multiplayer FPS to single-player RPG. Marchadier encourages all players to think of the Fairplay Program as something that can be used in everyday digital interaction, not just while gaming. "It's always about the impact you have on others. When you're frustrated and stressed, you are living in anxiety, and then you're in a spiral where it's difficult to think about the impact you're having," he says. "That's why we want to get at the root cause of how to help players manage stressful situations." Having this kind of emotional intelligence can help players react when faced with disruptive behaviors while gaming, on social media, or even in day-to-day interactions. There are no rewards for completing the program, a decision the team made to make sure players did it because they genuinely want to learn.
Marchadier hopes to see the Fair Play Program become the main destination for players to find guidance, learn how to be a better player who works in harmony with others, and promote those values to their teammates and community at large. The team also plans to work with community managers who monitor social media to see if anyone has feedback for the Fair Play Program as it moves into its next stages.
You can find Ubisoft's Code of Conduct here. If you're interested in learning more about Ubisoft's efforts to combat toxicity, read about its recent collaboration with Riot to better identify toxic behaviors in chat, or about Ubisoft's commitment to evolving its workplace culture.