A digital artist is claiming that Ubisoft improperly used their artwork in the game Rainbow Six Siege without permission or providing compensation.
Ubisoft, creator of the online tactical shooter Rainbow Six: Siege, has apparently been using artwork from a VFX artist and graphic designer without permission for over six years. This instance of artist theft is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident in video games and is particularly troubling from Ubisoft.
The gaming developer has come under fire in recent weeks for its controversial stance on non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Ubisoft’s announcement that it would be incorporating NFTs into future titles was met with widespread disapproval from gamers who saw the decision as exploiting a new, unregulated form of currency. NFTs have come under fire for their environmental impact and how easily they can be replicated, lost, or stolen. Ubisoft and other studios have suggested that, in games, NFTs would be purchasable or earnable in-game tokens, but detractors have pointed out that these issues would still persist for NFTs in a video game. However, it seems that this is not the first time that Ubisoft has run afoul of digital artists.
Twitter user Sam Blye has shared information, alleging that Ubisoft has stolen artwork that they created. Blye, who is a VFX artist and graphic designer, shared a video that contains two digital images side by side of a “glitch effect.” According to Blye, this glitch effect was used by Ubisoft without their permission or without compensation. According to another Twitter user, Rogue-9 Ubisoft has been using this effect for six years, since Rainbow Six Siege was released. Blye was, understandably, quite outraged by this use of their art without permission.
for anyone who’s having difficulty seeing it, here’s a fade comparison.
Yes, @UbisoftMTL stole my glitch artwork, ignored my licensing, and put it in their AAA game without providing me any credit or compensation for my work.
This is insane. I’m actually shaking right now. pic.twitter.com/BNpmVi2IJw
— Sam Blye @ gamedev (@ompuco) December 31, 2021
Imagine making a multi billion dollar game and apparently using an artist’s work without permission or compensation, for an effect that has been in there for over 6 years now.
If all this is true, it’s pretty embarrassing. https://t.co/W70zaOaIu3
— Rogue-9 (@RogueN9) January 2, 2022
Ubisoft’s misuse of another’s intellectual property is galling enough, but the company has also come under fire for work conditions and business practices. This has led to much criticism of Ubisoft from former employees and industry observers. Beyond their business practices, though, Ubisoft has been criticized for its direction with regards to its games. In addition to the NFT decision, Ubisoft has also attempted to pivot more of its intellectual properties towards the live service model, which players roundly disapproved of.
The timing of this negative news comes at a particularly poor time for Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six. The latest installment in the series, Rainbow Six Extraction, is due to release in January 2022 but has been met with negative reception thus far. The fact that another Rainbow Six game is embroiled in its own controversy certainly doesn’t bode well for the IP’s image. Hopefully, Blye will be compensated for Ubisoft’s use of their artwork.
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