On January 31, 2019, Ubisoft sent out a promotional email regarding the upcoming private beta for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. The subject line was a political joke regarding the recent government shutdown in the United States that stated, “Come see what a real government shutdown looks like in the private beta.” This did not go over well with many and resulted in Ubisoft issuing a follow-up apology email.
We recognize the very real impact of the United States government shut down on thousands of people and did not intend to make light of the situation.
The recent 35-day government shutdown was the longest one in American history and occurred because President Donald Trump demanded over $5 billion to fund a border wall between the United States and Mexico, which Democrats refused to pay for. During this time, approximately 800,000 U.S government workers either worked without pay or were furloughed, i.e were out of work without pay.
This created a ripple effect of consequences. To name just one example, the Food and Drug Administration had to stop routine safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables, and other foods at high risk of contamination as a result. Even now that the government shutdown has ended, it may resume again on February 15, 2019, if a deal is not reached.
It’s a heavy, ongoing subject in the United States. For a team that claims their game is not political and that “politics are bad for games” their original email makes quite the statement.