Ubisoft admits giving Nexus 7 tablets to journalists at Watch Dogs event

watch dogs swag

The freebie in question.

Many thanks to Ubisoft for reminding us that swag-bribery is alive and flourishing in the video game events industry. At a recent Watch Dogs preview event in Paris, it transpires that freebie Nexus 7 tablets (retailing at around $150-250 USD depending on what model it was) were given out to the entirely impartial and professional games writers in attendance.

Naturally, as professionals, they declined these obvious attempts to buy influence and immediately reported this transparent breach of ethi … ha ha, no. Instead it took writer Steve Hogarty (who wasn’t even at the event) asking other people whether rumours of the Nexus 7 gifts were true in order to get some disclosure. Gamesindustry.biz’s European editor Dan Pearson stepped forward to confirm that yes, it did happen, and pulled the classic “ours is going to charity though” maneuver.

Ubisoft’s UK twitter account has put up a vague apology, saying that the publisher is sorry for any for “confusion” rather than, say, for “trying to soften coverage with relatively expensive gifts.”

I’m sure they were always planning to make this apology, and definitely weren’t pressured into it by this damaging story getting out into the public (thanks to, it must be noted, a games journalist asking questions.)

It’ll be interesting to read the European-based Watch Dogs previews coming out in the near future, to see how many writers mention getting a $150-250 gift as part of the bargain.

IncGamers was not at this press event, which is a shame because I’ve been itching to break a “games publisher tried to give me expensive baubles in exchange for good coverage” story.

Related to this article


  • Ace

    You can’t bribe a room full of journalistss with this stuff, one of them will take exception and report it or brag about it.

  • John Roberts

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold it right there. Did Ubisoft demand, or even request, that the journalists not write anything critical of the company or its products in exchange for these tablets? Has anyone come forward with proof of this?

    I’m not certain (nor interested) in the rights of the French people. But here in America, a corporation is a person with rights just like you and me. These tablets cost money, and money is free speech. Free speech of the people must not be abridged. Therefore, absent any proof of quid pro quo corruption, your concerns are completely unfounded. Case closed.

    Please send “free speech” to John Roberts C/O SCOTUS, 1 First St NE, Washington, DC 20543, USA.

    • Peter Parrish

      Damn your confounded legal trickery!

    • David Harrison

      I hear this argument about free speech from Americans all the time, it indicates you don’t know what free speech is. “The right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint” by GOVERNMENT. You are free to say what ever the hell you want, but I am also allowed to smack you down when you say something wrong or totally morally bankrupt. Simply saying “FREE SPEECH!!!!111!!!11!” isn’t a magical out from criticism from other people, it is only a method of demanding that GOVERNMENT doesn’t inhibit your right to speak.

      • Peter Parrish

        I’m pretty sure he was parodying recent disappointing US Supreme Court decisions, but yes, free speech, yelling “fire” in a theater, etc etc.

        • Lorderan

          Yeah I figured. But I was just really using his statement as a platform for what I said.

  • David Reid

    Makes me laugh how PR believes that will get them positive written articles on their games. After all, why would Ubisoft give out expensive (at least for me) Nexus 7 tablets if it’s not in-line with their PR policies? I think they won’t invite us Peter because they know we can’t be bribed :D.