[Update #4: PC Gamer has issued an apology and made a public statement regarding disclosure]
PC Gamer executive editor Tyler Wilde is in a personal relationship with a Ubisoft communications specialist named Anne Marie. The relationship has been somewhat serious since at least January, 2014, according to Tweets and information spread about from Twitter users @TheFartRises and Hazerion.
Wilde has written many articles about Ubisoft, as evidenced with his April 23rd, 2014 piece about Watch Dogs, his June 10th, 2014 piece about Assassin’s Creed Unity, or his August 11th, 2014 piece about Toy Soldiers. Proof of his relationship with Anne Marie has been documented across various Twitter accounts, such as @TheFartRises, and in a few Reddit threads on Kotaku in Action.
If you look through the articles at the time of the dates they were archived, you will notice that there are no footnotes or edits about disclosure regarding his relationship to Ubisoft.
[Update: Thanks to Twitter user @logan_910, it’s also surfaced that Tyler Wilde, while still in a relationship with a Ubisoft employee, promoted and suggested Far Cry 4 for purchase, linking to a PC Gamer article via Twitter]
Some may not see a problem with this, but the issue is that this PC Gamer executive editor has created a conflict of interest with Ubisoft by not disclosing his close ties to one of their communications representatives.
The average reader has no idea what sort of information Marie may relay to Wilde, or vice versa.
What’s more is that while some of these relationships may seem benign, like the one between former Escapist content contributor Andrea Rene and former Harmonix representative John T. Drake, we’ve seen how these same relationships can become serious security hazards for consumers.
Back in 2013 there was a serious security breach in a forum operated by Firemonkeys and Electronic Arts. A journalist became aware of the breach because he was in a close relationship with a representative at Electronic Arts. However, he opted not to report on the story in order to prevent his relationship with the rep and EA from being put at risk.
More than 40,000 people had their information accessed from that hack.
As for Tyler Wilde and Anne Marie… I did reach out to the executive editor at PC Gamer to get his take on the appearance of a conflict of interest, but at the time of the publishing of this article he has not responded.
I also reached out to Ubisoft’s media relations rep to ask if the company has any policies in place for employees engaged in any relationships with individuals associated with the gaming press and if it’s required by members of the press to at least disclose these ties if they are in an established relationship with a Ubisoft employee. However, at the time of the writing of this article, they have not responded.
As noted on Games Nosh, the global editor-in-chief, Tim Clark, was also aware of the relationship but never requested for Wilde to make a disclosure statement about the relationship.
Continued breaches of ethics and reckless displays of conflicting interests in the sight of the public are why scandals like #GamerGate refuse to die down and go away.
[Update: @TheFartRises also noted a potential conflict of interest where PC Gamer executive editor Tyler Wilde was also roommates with an employee of Capcom and wrote about their games without disclosing the information. The information was verified by Capcom’s online community manager and former GamesRadar editor, Chris Antista.]
[Update #2: It appears PC Gamer has recently deleted previous coverage conducted by Tyler Wilde for some Ubisoft’s products. This article for Watch Dogs has been removed from the site, as illustrated by a thread on Kotaku in Action]