Ubisoft to relocate controversial Rainbow Six Siege UAE major

A split image showing the Rainbow Six Siege esports logo and Siege operator Sledge wielding a sledgehammer

Around 48 hours after it was revealed that one of the Year 7 Rainbow Six Siege esports majors would be held in the United Arab Emirates, Ubisoft has announced that it intends to relocate the event following community backlash.

Siege esports fans, casters, content creators, players, and even Ubisoft employees, were all vocal on social media following the initial announcement that the UAE would host a major this year. The criticism stemmed from the country’s anti-LGBT laws and tolerances, and many criticised Ubisoft for tarnishing the hard work Rainbow Six Siege has put in to making both the game and the competitive scene inclusive and accepting.

The backlash from the community also saw the creation of a petition calling on Ubisoft to relocate the UAE major. The petition reached just over 13,000 signatures before Ubisoft’s announcement today that it would find a new host for the event.

“We want to stress that the safety and wellbeing of all our events’ participants and staff is always a primary concern,” Ubisoft’s statement reads, “and we are proud of what Rainbow Six Siege represents as a world where diversity, inclusion, and acceptance are at its core”.

While the developer says that it had consulted with various entities before deciding on the UAE – and more specifically, the capital city of Abu Dhabi – to ensure that all would be “included and welcomed”, it “hears loud and clear that members of the international Siege community question this choice”.

The major will now move to another Rainbow Six Esports region, but an exact location has not yet been determined.

Despite deciding to relocate the major, Ubisoft says it will continue to support the MENA region when it comes to competitive Siege and says it is “humbled” by the dedication of fans in the region and employees that work at its studio in Abu Dhabi.

Many of Ubisoft’s critics have praised its swift action in relocating the major, including casters Parker ‘INTERRO’ Mackay and Emi ‘CaptainFluke’ Donaldson.

For Year 7, Siege esports will head to the United States and Asia for majors one and three. Today’s announcement now leaves the second major up in the air, but a European nation seems a likely candidate for a host. The 2023 Six Invitational is also currently host-less as Ubisoft weighs up all options.