YouTube’s GameXplain Accused Of Abusive Work Practices
GameXplain, a popular YouTube channel focused on Nintendo games, is being accused of abusive work practices by former contributors Steve Bowling, Ash Paulsen and Derrick Bitner. The trio formed a new channel, Good Vibes Gaming, after leaving GameXplain at the end of 2020.
On the January 2 episode of their Today’s News Tonight podcast, Bowling said that he was pressured and paid poorly to play through Final Fantasy 7 Remake after Square Enix sent review code 48 hours before the review embargo lifted.
“I don’t think I’ve ever suffered more to make a video than I did for this game,” he said. As his wife watched him struggle through two days of non-stop playing, she encouraged him to “leave GameXplain as soon as you can.”
Paulsen added that by April 2020, his wife had also “turned on GameXplain for similar reasons” after seeing him work non-stop for several days for little money. The allegations made by the former contributors made their way onto GameXplain’s subreddit where they were quickly deleted.
Despite allegations of late payments, overworking staff and creating a mentally and physically stressful work setting, owner André Segers maintains that he is “absolutely committed” to promoting a positive work environment and compensating contributors fairly.
Bowling, Paulsen and Bitner, however, stand by their statements. Bowling reportedly earned $550 per month, regardless of his work schedule. His wife claims he made $1 to $2 per hour while working on the Final Fantasy 7 Remake video.
In a statement to Vice, Segers said, “I was quite upset to hear these experiences because I consider them true friends and I hate that they felt subjected in any way to unfair compensation or unrealistic deadlines, often as a result of adhering to tight embargo deadlines beyond our control.”
“I am absolutely committed to ensuring open communications, a positive work/life balance and fair, timely compensation for my team, as we move forward and navigate the pressures of the gaming industry,” he added.
Segers also stated that it is difficult to track working hours for remote staff since he relies upon their feedback to address any issues that may arise. As for paying contributors $1 or $2 per hour, he said, “I cannot find a way to understand how this makes sense.”
Meanwhile, he says that many of the issues brought up by Bowling, Paulsen and Bitner have been dealt with and staff are now receiving “better pay, combined with clearer expectations and timelines, both for contractors and full-time employees.”
Segers did admit to taking “an unnecessary amount of time to send out payments” and conceded that working overtime to finish a review before the review embargo was lifted “shouldn’t have happened.” His statements were backed up by a new contributor, Joey Farris, who said he was told to not burn himself out while working overtime to complete an Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review.
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